Joseph Patrick Martin

1 2
3 4 AP
Top Row and Bottom Left and Center: Joseph, circa 1996;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 25 (circa 2005)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: March 25, 1996 from Kerhonkson, New York
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: November 12, 1980
  • Age: 15 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'2, 115 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, hazel eyes. Joseph's left ear is double-pierced. His two upper eye teeth cross over each other. Joseph had a slim, muscular build at the time of his 1996 disappearance and was a track runner. His nicknames are Joe and Joey. His head was shaved at the time of his disappearance, except for his ponytail.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A green and blue flannel shirt, a hooded green sweatshirt, blue jeans and dark-colored sneakers.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Joseph was last seen departing from his family's residence on Samsonville Road in Kerhonkson, New York at 10:40 p.m. on March 25, 1996. His brother said Joseph climbed out of a window in his bedroom. He planned to meet two friends, Daniel L. Malak and Alexander R. Barsky, at the Schwabbie Turnpike, less than one mile from their home, to watch the Hyakutake comet. His friends said they waited for him at the site, but they left after he failed to arrive by midnight. Joseph was reported as a missing person during the following morning. He has never been heard from again. Authorities did receive reports of sightings of Joseph in the New Paltz, New York area in 1999, but the sightings were never confirmed.

    Barsky was 15 years old at the time of Joseph's disappearance; Malak was 16 or 17. In 1997, Malak was charged with murdering a 62-year-old man in the victim's home. He was convicted the following year and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, and is still incarcerated. He will be eligible for parole in that case in 2017. Photos of both men are posted below this case summary.

    In May 2008, authorities arrested Barsky and charged him with second-degree murder in Joseph's presumed death. Investigators they went to reinterview him about Joseph's case, and Barsky was evasive, failed a polgraph test and eventually confessed to Joseph's murder. It was supposedly committed in retaliation for some petty theft on Joseph's part.

    According to Barsky's account, he and Malak picked up some marijuana before they went to meet Joseph to see the comet. The three boys went to a makeshift fort they had built, smoked the marijuana and drank beer. Then Barsky and Malak attacked Joseph from behind with two-foot length of metal pipe. They struck him approximately four times altogether before he died. After his death, they hid his body in a cave-like indentation in a rock. Several years later, Barsky allegedly returned to the site, removed Joseph's bones, and dumped them in various trash cans in New York City. Authorities discovered forensic evidence to support Barsky's account, including some fabric, a tooth and a scrap of bone at the site where he says he originally hid the body.

    In August 2008, Barsky pleaded guilty to a manslaughter and was sentenced to three to ten years in prison. The lenient sentence was due to his age at the time of the crime; he was three months shy of his sixteenth birthday. He had he been 16 when Joseph died, he could have faced 25 years to life in prison. Barsky apologized to Joseph's family at the sentencing hearing. He stated Malak was the instigator of the plot to kill Joseph, and that it was Malak who struck the first two blows. He also claimed that when they attacked Joseph, they only meant to hurt him and didn't mean for him to die. In September 2009, Malak was also charged with second-degree murder. Barsky testified against him at his trial in September 2010, and he was found guilty.

    Some agencies continue to classify Joseph's case as that of an endangered runaway. He was a student at Rondout Valley High School in 1996, and Barsky and Malak went to school with him. Joseph enjoyed skateboarding in 1996 and had also participated in football, wrestling and track. Foul play is suspected in his disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

    Barsky 1 Barsky 2
    Malak 1998 Malak 2009
    Top Row: Alexander Barsky, circa 2008;
    Bottom Left: Daniel Malak in 1998;
    Bottom Right: Daniel Malak in 2009

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New York State Police
    Troop F
    Ellenville Station
    845-626-2800

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    New York State Police
    The Times Herald-Record
    The Daily Freeman
    The Mid-Hudson News Network
    The Poughkeepsie Journal
    WTEN
    Remembering Joseph Patrick Martin

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    Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated October 4, 2010; details of disappearance updated.

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