Timeline of key dates in double drowning case

03/09/2016 5:50 AM |

Thursday, March 10, marks 35 years since William and Michelle Becker were last seen alive. There have been several key dates in the investigation into their deaths. 

March 10, 1981, 8:10 p.m.: The Beckers arrive for a dinner party at Arthur Siemerling’s home on Ole Jule Lane in Mattituck.

March 10, 1981, 11:30 p.m.: The Beckers leave the dinner party. Another guest, Susan Jacobs, leaves at the same time in a separate car.

March 11, 1981, 10:30 a.m.: The body of William Becker is discovered at Matt-A-Mar Marina in Mattituck.

March 12, 1981, 4:10 p.m.: The body of Michelle Becker is recovered by police divers in Mattituck Inlet.

April 4, 1981: The Suffolk County Police’s Seventh Squad officially folds.

May 1981: Det. Thomas Schmitt of the Suffolk County police is assigned to reinvestigate the case “pursuant to a great deal of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of William and Michelle Becker,” according to police files.

May 28, 1981: Southold Town Police Chief Carl Cataldo announces his intent to retire.

June 2, 1981: The chief medical examiner issues a report on Michelle Becker to certify her death as “asphyxia by submersion.”

July 29, 1981: The chief medical examiner issues a report on William Becker to certify his death as “asphyxia by drowning.”

August 1981: The Suffolk County police inquiry into the Beckers’ deaths concludes without finding any criminality.

June 16, 1983: The Suffolk County police case on the Beckers is closed.

Late ’80s: An investigator from the DEC re-interviews all the key people involved in the case. He concludes that the accidental drowning theory doesn’t add up, but finds no suspects.

1994: The DEC case file on the Beckers is assigned to Maj. Scott Florence, a DEC officer.

November 2014: Michael Malkush, Michelle Becker’s brother, speaks with retired police sergeant John Fox about the case. Mr. Fox agrees to help Mr. Malkush get the authorities to take another look at the case.

March 9, 2016: The DEC announces a $15,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Beckers’ deaths.

Sources: Suffolk County Police Department; Southold Town website; The Suffolk Times archives.

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