Former death row inmate identified as killer of NJ 19-year-old
⚫ Police say an East Windsor man is responsible for at least two New Jersey murders
⚫ At age 19, Donna Macho went missing from her home
⚫ The victim's body wasn't recovered for 10 years
A New Jersey prisoner who died in 2020 while serving time for a separate murder has been identified as the man responsible for the sexual assault and homicide of a young woman in East Windsor in 1984.
According to New Jersey officials, improved DNA technology has positively identified Nathaniel Harvey, formerly of East Windsor, as the killer in the decades-old case.
Donna Macho, 19, went missing from her home in February 1984. Her skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area in Cranbury more than 10 years later.
Harvey was identified early on as a possible suspect, but leads dissipated and the case went cold, according to New Jersey officials.
During the initial investigation, police found Harvey's semen in the victim's bedroom, but DNA testing was unable to match the fluid to one specific individual, officials said.
The case was reopened in 2022, and all viable evidence was resubmitted. Using present-day technology, experts were able to determine that Harvey's DNA was the only DNA evidence in Donna's room that should not have been present.
In addition, officials said, Donna's body was found by a farm that Harvey briefly worked at around the time of her disappearance. And her vehicle was found within walking distance of Harvey's home.
Nathaniel Harvey was arrested for unrelated murder
Harvey was arrested around the same time Donna went missing. He was being held in connection with sexual sexual assaults, as well as the murder of a 37-year-old woman in her Plainsboro apartment.
During his crime sprees, Harvey would enter unlocked homes, where he would hold captive and rape young women, officials said.
Harvey had spent nearly 20 years on death row, until New Jersey abolished the death penalty. He died in South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton in November 2020.
"Nearly 40 years have passed since the life of a 19-year-old was mercilessly stolen by a predator who discarded her remains in a shallow grave, leaving them unrecovered for more than 10 years," said Colonel Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. "Time does not erase the quest for justice, and although this murderer was imprisoned for another killing and died in custody in 2020, it does not make this conclusion any less meaningful."
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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