After media speculation about a dismembered body found on a beach in Queens on Friday, CNBC and other outlets, citing “police sources,” are saying the remains “may be” those of Emmy-winning Irish filmmaker Ross McDonnell, 44. Police have not yet publicly confirmed or denied those reports.
McDonnell has been missing since November 4, when he went for a bike ride in his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. His bike was later found locked up at Fort Tilden Beach in Queens. That’s a mile or two away from Breezy Point Beach, where the headless and armless body was found on Friday.
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McDonnell’s friends reportedly later found some of his clothes on the beach, and the thought is he might have gone swimming. A police source told the New York Daily News they believe the body was dismembered by the sharp rocks, waves and marine life over the past two weeks before it washed ashore.
“It’s not uncommon with the churning current and rocks for this to happen,” the source told the outlet.
Born in Dublin, McDonnell has worked a director, cinematographer and producer. His debut feature Colony premiered at Toronto and won the IDFA First Feature Award. In 2018, he was Emmy nominated for Elián, the feature-length documentary he directed for CNN Films, BBC and Jigsaw Productions. In 2021 he won an Emmy for cinematography on Showtime’s series, The Trade. Then in 2022, McDonnell won the Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary Emmy for his work on Matthew Heineman’s celebrated Covid doc, The First Wave.
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