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1987 homicide case solved after decades-long investigation in Tompkins County

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The notorious 1987 murder of David Malcom, a Red Cross Shelter worker, has finally been solved after a sustained multi-year investigation, according to Ithaca Police Department.


The previously suspected male associate is no longer under scrutiny. The case, initially examined in 1987 and 1988, went cold before subsequent reexaminations until 2010. From 2015 to 2023, the case saw renewed focus with assistance from New York State Police Troop C Major Crimes Unit, the Forensic Identification Unit, and the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office, alongside numerous national and local law enforcement agencies.

Advances in forensic science and newly pursued leads concluded that the murderer was the estranged boyfriend of a teenage girl who had sought refuge at the shelter, fleeing a domestic dispute on February 11, 1987.

It’s believed that Malcom was killed for refusing to reveal the girl’s whereabouts to her aggressive boyfriend. The criminal, linked to the crime through DNA and investigative leads, passed away in 2019. Ithaca Police Investigators, along with Tompkins County District Attorney Matthew VanHouten and Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello, met with Malcom’s family to disclose their findings, expressing regret for the delay in justice.