New York Man Arrested in Cold Case Killing of World War I Veteran Who Vanished in 1976

New York man arrested in cold case involving World War I veteran.
Investigators found remains of veteran George Clarence Seitz, right.Office of Queens District Attorney

Advanced DNA testing led to the arrest of 74-year-old New York man on murder charges, authorities said.

A 74-year-old New York City man was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in the cold case of a World War I veteran who disappeared in 1976, authorities said.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said Martin Motta faces 25 years to life in prison if he is convicted in the death of George Seitz, who was 81 when he was last seen 45 years ago in December, walking to get a haircut in his Queens neighborhood.

Motta appeared in court Wednesday after being indicted by a grand jury. He is scheduled to appear again on Friday. His attorney, Russell Rothberg, said he had no comment on the case, in response to an email sent by Inside Edition Digital. 

Dismembered human remains were found in the backyard of a Queens home in March 2019, buried under some concrete, prosecutors said. 

Initial DNA testing of the remains were inconclusive, authorities said. But advanced testing by a private laboratory in February created a genealogical profile that enabled investigators to identify the victim, prosecutors said.

The New York Police Department and prosecutors interviewed witnesses and conducted records searches that led them to Motta, authorities said. 

"The officers of the NYPD's Detective Bureau, its Homicide and Cold Case squads, and its highly trained forensic units, never forget and never give up," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

Katz said in a statement, "After 45 years, the alleged killer of a WWI Veteran is being held accountable and brought to justice," Katz said in a statement. "We hope the identification of the remains and the indictment in this case will begin to bring peace and closure to his loved ones."

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