Schenectady County

Famed pathologist does 2nd autopsy at family’s request

A second autopsy on the body of Joshua Szostak, whose body was found last week in the Hudson River n

A second autopsy on the body of Joshua Szostak, whose body was found last week in the Hudson River near Coxsackie, is complete, but a cause of death was not made public on Monday.

Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who has been involved with the O.J. Simpson case and other high-profile cases, performed the autopsy at the family’s request.

Baden declined to provide a cause of death on Monday and would not say if his findings differed from the results of the first autopsy done last week which determined Szostak accidentally drowned.

He said it’s up to the Szostak family to disclose results and said the family may speak today after Joshua Szostak is buried.

Bill Szostak, Joshua’s father, could not be reached on Monday.

Baden said he met with Bill Szostak for about an hour on Monday to discuss his findings. “We had a long talk about the findings with the family,” said Baden.

“The family is very upset. We have tried to help out as much as we could. Hopefully, this will help in dealing with this tragic situation.”

“Children are not supposed to die before their parents and whenever a child dies before the parent it’s especially tragic.”

Albany police closed the case on Thursday when the first autopsy determined the cause of Szostak’s death was accidental drowning and there was no struggle or evidence of foul play.

But the Szostak family was not satisfied with those findings and asked Baden to perform a second autopsy, which he conducted Monday morning for no charge at Parker Brothers Funeral Home.

Baden is on the state police payroll as a part-time consultant but he said he did this as a professional courtesy.

“In regards to this case, he has been asked by the family and all questions are being referred to the family,” said state police Sgt. Kern Swoboda.

Swoboda said that state police recovered Szostak’s body last week but the investigation is being handled by Albany police.

“I would be inappropriate for us to comment,” said Swoboda.

Szostak, 21, a college student, was last seen drinking at the Bayou Cafe on North Pearl Street in downtown Albany at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 23. He was recorded several minutes later on video surveillance at the intersection of State and North Pearl streets.

He was never seen again until his body was recovered last week in the river in Greene County.

Meanwhile, two retired New York City police detectives are investigating a string of cases around the country involving the disappearance of white college-aged males. Many of these deaths have been labeled accidental drownings like the Szostak case.

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