The Unsolved: Edward “Mitt” Croley

          This month’s unsolved murder brings us to upstate New York to examine the case of a young man who vanished in March of 1991, only for his remains to be discovered nearly a year later, fifteen miles away. This is a case that has very little information available to the public. It’s a case that I have not seen covered by anyone outside of New York. So let’s change that. What happened to Edward “Mitt” Croley after he disappeared that cold March day? And why has his killer not been brought to justice? Let’s explore.

Who Was Mitt?

          We don’t know a great deal about Edward Croley’s life before his murder, as is unfortunately often the case with cases we examine. We know that he was born on August 31, 1976. His nickname was Mitt. He was a young black teenager who lived with his family on Orange Street in Albany, New York. He seemingly had a good relationship with his family, as he was staying the night with his aunt just prior to vanishing. At the time of his disappearance and death, Mitt had black hair cut short. His eyes were brown. He stood at around 5’2” and weighed around 115 pounds. If you’re reading this and knew Mitt, or knew of him, please reach out. I would love to add more personal information here. He deserves to be known as a person with interests and relationships, not just for how his life ended.

(A photo of Mitt taken shortly before his disappearance and murder.
via NY State Police)

The Disappearance and Murder

          As stated above, Mitt had spent the night of March 23, 1991 at his Aunt’s house. He was last seen at Northern Blvd and Livingston St (note: contemporary news reports list Livingston as street, but current maps list it as avenue) in Albany, heading towards his school. At that time, he was wearing a blue hoodie, a navy tee with a Super Bowl XXV New York Giants shirt, and gray sweatpants. He was enrolled at the Maywood School in Colonie, New York, which was about ten miles away from the spot he was last seen. He never arrived at school that morning, and was never seen alive again. He was reported missing, and the Albany police opened a missing persons investigation when no sign of him was found within a few days of his disappearance.
          The unfortunate end of that missing persons investigation came on January 8, 1992, when two woodcutters working near Route 144 discovered skeletal remains. The remains were on private property. The remains were identified as Mitt’s – I can’t find any information to confirm how this was done, but my guess would be matching clothing or dental record comparison. Examination of the remains revealed that there was a fracture to the right side of the skull, signifying that the cause of death was likely some sort of blunt force trauma.

(A billboard used during the investigation.
via CBS 6)

The Investigation

          As soon as the missing persons case was opened, investigators began searching the area in which Mitt was last seen. Interviews were conducted, though information regarding who was interviewed, whether any specific leads were discovered, or how far the investigation went in canvassing is not publicly available. It is also unclear whether the person whose property Mitt’s remains were found on was questioned and cleared of involvement, though I have to assume that they were. Mitt’s remains may have been found in a wooded area, but it was not far from the highway – feasibly, whoever committed the murder could could have pulled off of the side of the highway and hidden the remains there without having any knowledge of or relation to the property owner. And, unfortunately, that’s about all we know about the investigation. No publicly named suspects. No concrete leads. The one thread reported is that interviews stated the murder may have been related to drugs.

The Theories

          When it comes to theories, all we really have is speculation. Let’s start with the theory that interviews conducted by investigators pointed toward – drugs. Now, the only information we have is that the murder “may have been drug related.” That does not mean that Mitt was involved in drugs himself, as may be the first conclusion to jump to. When it comes to the murder being connected to drugs, I believe that Mitt may have stumbled upon something he shouldn’t have seen – maybe a drug deal, maybe a dealer, maybe a stash. It’s impossible to guess from what little we know. Then, whoever was involved with whatever he saw murdered him to keep him quiet. I feel that this doesn’t happen often, murdering someone to keep them quiet, but it does happen. And the drug-related lead is all we know of at this point.
          A second possible theory that I’ve come up with is that Mitt was lured somewhere by someone who recognized him as a vulnerable young man. They may have asked Mitt to help them with something to get him off of his route to school. Or they may have taken him by surprise and grabbed him with foul intent. Perhaps Mitt, recognizing danger, fought back against this person and they, fearing being reported for their actions, killed him in a panic. There is nothing in this case to point directly to this scenario, but I can’t help but think of the Jason Jolkowski case – the ages of the victims are different, but the scenarios are very similar. The idea that Jason was lured away by a neighbor is heavily prevalent in websleuth circles, which led me to consider the possibility here as well.
          But, when it comes down to it, there is just as much pointing towards these theories as there are pointing away from them. Someone had to have seen or heard something that March morning. Heard an accident somewhere along Mitt’s route to school, saw him talking to someone or getting in a car. I believe if that person came forward, more pieces would fall into place in this case. Of course, with ever-advancing technology, it’s possible that some sort of DNA may still be found on Mitt’s clothes or other as-yet unreleased items from the scene at which his remains were found. Investigators may have samples from suspects that we, as the public, do not know about. Hopefully, advanced testing will lead to a break in this case.

Investigating Agencies

          If you or anyone you know have any information regarding the disappearance and murder of Edward Croley, please contact the New York State Police. Troop G appears to be in charge of the investigation as of the writing of this blog. The Troop G Major Crimes Unit can be reached at 518-783-3212, or information can be emailed to nysvicap@troopers.ny.gov. Not only does Edward deserve posthumous justice, but his family deserves the peace of mind of knowing his killer has been brought to justice. Please, if you know something, it’s time to speak up.

Sources

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