On November 4, 2023, Emmy-winning cinematographer Ross McDonnell left his home in his Bed-Stuy neighborhood on his bicycle and then disappeared, leaving his family and friends in a panic.
Warning graphic descriptions ahead.
McDonnell’s bicycle was then found at Fort Tiden Beach in Queens. Unfortunately, this mystery of his disappearance came to a tragic end on November 17, according to Deadline, when his headless, armless body was found on Breezy Point Beach in Queens, New York.
Due to the horrible state of his remains, the identification was made by a birthmark and a pair of red swim trunks he often wore. Other personal items were also found on the beach.
There is a theory that he went swimming and simply drowned, with damage to his body being caused by sharp rocks and marine life. But questions remain, including why his bike was found at one beach and his body at another.
The 44-year-old Ireland native is known for his work on films such as Colony, Jihad Jane, Joy Ride, and What If, and series like National Geographic’s “Edge of the Unkown With Jimmy Chin.” McDonnell has received two Emmy Awards for his work on The First Wave and The Trade and received an Emmy nomination for the documentary Elián.
His most recent project, which he co-directed along with Victor J. Blue, is the 2023 documentary titled Swift Justice, which centers on a widowed Afghan woman fighting for her rights under Sharia law. The 14-minute long short documentary offers a rare glimpse inside a Taliban court.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.