10 people charged in kidnapping and death of man from upstate New York homeless encampment

Aug 28, 2023, 7:33 PM

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — Ten people have been charged in the death of a man who was kidnapped from a homeless encampment on the outskirts of Ithaca and found buried in a neighboring county more than two months later, authorities said Monday.

The charges were announced 100 days after Thomas Rath, 33, was reported missing from the area known as “The Jungle,” a patch of woods housing tents and makeshift shelters behind a stretch of retail stores less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Cornell University.

Two of the suspects are charged with murder and nine are charged with kidnapping. The men and women were arrested over the past two weeks, according to police, who said additional arrests are expected.

At a news conference, authorities said the investigation was ongoing and did not say how Rath died or discuss a possible motive.

“These individuals were all familiar with each other,” State Police Capt. Lucas Anthony said. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was an orchestrated event, but it was an ongoing event from start to finish.”

The investigation began May 20 when Ithaca police were asked to check on Rath at the encampment, where dozens of people live year-round.

Rath’s remains were found buried in a wooded area in neighboring Tioga County on Aug. 3.

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10 people charged in kidnapping and death of man from upstate New York homeless encampment