Following media speculation about a dismembered body found on a beach in Queens on Friday, CNBC and other media outlets, citing “law enforcement sources,” claim that the remains “may be” that of 44-year-old Emmy-winning Irish filmmaker Ross McDonnell. Police have not yet publicly confirmed or denied these reports.

McDonnell has been missing since Nov. 4, when he went for a bike ride in his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. His bicycle was later found locked in Fort Tilden Beach, Queens. It’s a mile or two away from Breezy Point Beach, where the headless, armless body was found Friday.

Friends of McDonnell supposedly later found some of his clothes on the beach and thought he might have gone swimming. A police source told the New York Daily News they believe the body was dismembered by sharp rocks, waves and marine life over the past two weeks before it washed ashore.

“It’s not uncommon with the choppy current and rocks for this to happen,” the source told the outlet.

Born in Dublin, McDonnell has worked as a director, director of photography and producer. His debut feature Cologne premiered in Toronto and won the IDFA First Feature Award. In 2018, he was nominated for an Emmy for Eliane, the feature-length documentary he directed for CNN Films, BBC and Jigsaw Productions. In 2021 he won an Emmy for photography on the Showtime series The trade. Then, in 2022, McDonnell won the Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary for his work on Matthew Heineman’s celebrated Covid doc, The first wave.


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