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Hunt for Answers Continues in Disappearance and Murder of New York Woman Dawn Marino

It was the night of May 16, 1981 when Dawn Marino vanished.
Dawn Marino
Dawn MarinoNew York State Police
Dawn Marino
Dawn MarinoNew York State Police

It was the night of May 16, 1981 when Dawn Marino vanished.

It would be more than six years until her remains would be found.

The question of what happened to her remains a mystery.

Dawn was 20 years old, a beautician, and had a group of close friends whom she had known since childhood. That Saturday out was to be a fun night; heading to a few bars before going home to her boyfriend, who was home sick in their apartment, authorities said.

The last time anyone saw Dawn alive was in the parking lot of the Corner Tavern Bar, also known as ‘Rinky Dink’s,’ off County Route 1 in Pine Island, New York.

Police told local newspapers at the time that she had decided she wanted to head home around 1:30 a.m., but the group wanted to stay a bit longer. One of her girlfriends followed her outside and offered to give Dawn a ride home. The friend headed inside to grab her keys, but returned to find no Dawn.

Everyone assumed she had found another ride. But Dawn never made it home.

“I think someone she knew took her -- took her and killed her,” JoAnn Marino, Dawn’s mother, told News 12 last week. “We want to know that she’s at peace.’

The question of what happened to Dawn was partially answered more than six years later, on October 31, 1987.

Her remains were discovered by a hunter in an L-shaped cistern in the woods just five miles from Rinky Dink’s. The remains were badly decomposed, but officials said they knew right away that her death was a homicide.

Authorities have conducted dozens of interviews and tracked down hundreds of leads. No persons of interest or suspects have ever been named.

“Time is against us. Time is going to cause a problem, because it’s been so long,” then State Police Investigator Michael Long told the Schenectady Gazette in 1987, just days after Dawn’s body was found.

That was nearly 29 years ago. Authorities said Dawn's case remains under investigation and they believe someone out there knows exactly what happened to her. Several people are hoping that spreading Dawn's story and photo on social media will help find that person. They've started the 'Justice for DAWN Marino' Facebook page to help generate any tips that might be out there.

If you have any information regarding Dawn’s case, you are urged to call the New York State Police confidential tip line at (845) 344-5370.