15-Year-Old Cold Case Solved After Suspect’s DNA Matched Fork

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted 41-year-old Anthony Scalici and arraigned him on a charge of second-degree murder. 

On February 10, 2009, inside a Queens residence on Greene Avenue in Ridgewood, Rosario Prestigiacoma, 64, was brutally murdered. Genetic evidence found on a fork used by Scalici at a restaurant in Boynton Beach, Florida, linked him to the case. The DNA was matched with blood samples taken at the Ridgewood murder site fifteen years ago and with DNA extracted from under the victim’s fingernail.

This is the first homicide case in New York City in which a suspect was apprehended after being located in a public genealogical database. It is still unknown what motivated the murder. 

Early on in the inquiry, there were few leads, and searching local, state, and national databases for that profile yielded no results. After consulting with the private lab Orthram Inc. and the US Department of Homeland Security, investigators finally resorted to the recently established field of forensic genetic genealogy in March 2022 in their pursuit of clues. Based on the suspect’s blood found at the scene, Othram utilized sophisticated DNA testing three months later to build a detailed genealogy profile. This profile was subsequently posted to public databases.

Scalici was finally identified as the suspect in December after the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad took over the case. 

Scalici was the subject of police surveillance in Boynton Beach and cold case investigators in February. Investigators swooped in to grab a fork the suspect was using at a restaurant they were surveilling. The fork was all the evidence they needed to obtain a definitive DNA match.

Local police, US Marshals, and the NYPD’s Regional Fugitive Task Force apprehended Scalici in Florida on May 14. 

After his arraignment on Thursday before Justice Kenneth Holder of the Supreme Court, Scalici was ordered detained without bail and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.