Details of Disappearance Mahoney resided with her boyfriend in the 100 block of Lenox Avenue in Oneida, New York. She had studied husbandry at the State University of New York (SUNY)'s Morrisville campus during the 1979-1980 school year and stated she wanted to become a veterinarian, but she did not return to school for the second year.
Mahoney was last seen hitchhiking near the Glenwood Shopping Center on Route 46 in Oneida at 7:45 a.m. on May 8, 1981. She planned to travel to Hamilton, New York during the evening. Authorities believe that a group of unidentified young men gave Mahoney a ride to the Oneida Indian Nation Territory, which occupies 32 acres of land along Route 46.
Mahoney's boyfriend reported her as a missing person on May 11, 1981, three days after her disappearance. She has gone missing before, but always returned within a short time; prior to May 1981, the longest period she had ever been gone was eighteen days.
She had been employed as a groom at Vernon Downs, but quit her job a week before she went missing. She did not tell anyone of this and left her apartment every morning as if she were going to work.
She had applied for another job in the newsroom at the Oneida Daily Dispatch, and stated on the application that she had left her previous job because it was too far away from her home. She often hitchhiked to work when she could not find friends to give her a ride.
Mahoney and her boyfriend were planning to move out of their apartment in May 1981, and she left behind all her belongings packed for the move, including her toothbrush.
Her family lived on Long Island, New York at the time of her disappearance. They stated she was close to them and kept in regular contact, and they did not believe she would have left without warning.
Investigators believe that Mahoney was gang-raped and murdered at a party inside a trailer on the Oneida Indian Nation Territory shortly after she was last seen. Authorities received a tip that Mahoney's body was inside a building that burned down on Lenox Avenue on May 11.
An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to her whereabouts. Mahoney's disappearance was reclassified as a probable homicide sometime afterwards.
Investigators announced that they identified several male suspects in Mahoney's presumed murder in the spring of 2002. The men's names have not been publicly released, but not all of the suspects are members of the Oneida Indian Nation.
Authorities said that dozens of witnesses were inside the trailer at the time of her homicide, and the murder suspects still live in the local area. The federal government will prosecute Mahoney's case, since she was allegedly killed on Indian Nation property. Investigators cannot file charges against anyone until her body is recovered.
A man's wallet was turned into authorities by an unidentified individual several days after Mahoney disappeared. The wallet was located on the Territory and investigators said it is connected to her case. The identity of its owner has not been divulged, but officials requested that the person who recovered the item contact detectives in order to obtain additional evidence.
Someone scrawled a message and the names of two alleged suspects on a reward flyer posted in A Guy, A Gal and a Laundromat in Vernon, New York in March 2002. Investigators made a public plea for photos of the Indian Nation Territory and any junked vehicles from May 1981 around the same time.
Authorities announced that Mahoney's body may have been placed inside one of the cars immediately after her murder. Officials searched a gravel-covered lot near the Shako:wi Cultural Center on the Territory in late June 2002. A pond was located in the area at the time of Mahoney's disappearance, but was filled in sometime afterwards.
No evidence was uncovered during the search. Investigators said that they did not believe her remains were still inside the car, but materials related to her case may be inside the vehicle.
Mahoney was born in the Long Island, New York area. Her case remains unsolved.
- Madison County Sheriff's Department
- Oneida Police Department
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 2, 2017; three pictures added.