Pair's Mysterious Drowning Investigated 35 Years Later

Michelle, William Becker last seen at a dinner the night before their bodies were found
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2016 1:03 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2016 6:37 AM CST
Pair's Mysterious Drowning Investigated 35 Years Later
Michelle and William Becker drowned in 1981 after 17 years of marriage.   (Courtesy Michael Malkush)

It's been exactly 35 years since the mysterious March 10, 1981, drowning of a Long Island couple, but their family and community are still calling on somebody—anybody—to come forward with information so they can finally piece together what happened, reports NBC News. The Department of Environmental Conservation officers' union and fraternal organization has even raised $15,000, the largest reward in the department's history, reports Newsday, while homicide detectives say they are "open to receiving any new information." William Becker, who was 43, was a 15-year veteran of the DEC; wife Michelle Becker, 36, owned a beauty salon. Married 17 years, the parents of three had gone to a dinner party in Mattituck that cold winter's night and left shortly before midnight.

Police said William's body was found 12 hours later in his forest-green DEC uniform at what was then called Matt-A-Mar Marina with a bump on his head and his arm tangled in electrical cable. By the time Michelle's body was found 40 feet away 20 hours later, her slippers on the dock, police had surmised that the couple had stopped by a friend's boat to "get romantic," Michelle's brother Michael Malkush says, and that William had died trying to save Michelle, who couldn't swim. But many felt this didn't make sense given their fear of the water, the cold, and their home being so nearby. Even an investigator in the late '80s concluded that accidental drowning didn't make sense, reports the Suffolk Times. The Beckers' oldest child says he and his siblings are "so disenchanted" with the police investigation, adding, "It's going to take somebody to talk. Somebody on their deathbed, or somebody who finds religion, or somebody with a guilty conscience." (A man recently confessed to this 1982 cold case.)

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