The body found last week in Menands is that of missing Schenectady resident Denise Hart, police confirmed Thursday.
Authorities used DNA to match the remains to the missing woman, matching material from the body with a sample taken from Hart’s apartment, police said.
The investigation now turns to finding out who killed the 45-year-old nurse and mother of a 7-year-old child.
“My daughter has lost a mother,” Hart’s former husband Robert Hart said Thursday afternoon from his Schenectady home. “My concern is that somebody out there needs to be caught.”
Robert Hart said he doesn’t intend to break the news to their daughter until today.
Detectives from Schenectady, Colonie, Menands and the state police are now conducting a joint investigation into Hart’s death.
Prosecution of her killer, when that person is found, will be done in Schenectady, District Attorney Robert Carney said. That decision was made after discussions with Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares.
Authorities believe she was killed in Schenectady County, though Carney declined to say whether they believe it happened inside her downtown Schenectady apartment. Sources have said Hart’s mattress and bedding were missing when police arrived in late November.
Hart’s dismembered body was found April 1 wrapped in plastic in a wooded area behind an apartment building at 52 Clifford Road. The body was missing its head, hands and feet, delaying positive identification.
Schenectady Police spokesman Lt. Brian Kilcullen characterized the investigation as a continuation of the missing persons case. Now that she’s been found, police must now find her killer.
Schenectady Police were in Menands the day after the body was found.
Hart, of Wade Lupe Apt. 86, was last seen alive Nov. 11 about 15 miles from where her body was later found. She worked nights on Keyes Avenue at a group home, state officials said. Relatives reported her missing the last week in November.
Police watched over the apartment. In January, they circulated fliers asking for information on her disappearance. The flier identified Hart’s vehicle, a 1996 black Ford Explorer.
Carney has said that the vehicle was found being serviced. It had been towed there, and the shop had been trying to contact her to pick it up, Carney said. Carney believed she requested the towing and service. He was unsure when the vehicle was towed.
Robert Hart said he has been in contact with the Schenectady Police detectives on the case, Jack Sims and Robert Buchanan. He said he has total confidence that they will solve the case.
Robert Hart said he met Denise about 11 years ago when both lived in Queens. They moved to Schenectady when their daughter was born, he said. The two had since separated.
“We wanted to raise our daughter in a place that was a little quieter,” he said.
He said his wife loved her job as a nurse. The job offered her the chance to help people.
“Denise was a very strong and intelligent person,” Hart said. “She was very full of life.
“Her daughter misses her.”