Megan McDonald

Police in New York announced murder charges on Thursday against the ex-boyfriend of a 20-year-old woman who was killed in 2003, decades after her body was discovered abandoned on a dirt road.

According to police, Edward Holley, now 42, is accused of bludgeoning Megan McDonald to death on March 14, 2003, in the town of Wallkill. She died as a result of a blunt force trauma to the head.

McDonald was described as gregarious and outgoing. Dennis McDonald, a retired New York Police Department detective, was her father. According to the Detectives’ Endowment Association, he died a year before his daughter.

McDonald’s sister, Karen Whalen, said she never gave up hope that an arrest would be made. She expressed hope that one day she will be able to remember her slain sister without wondering who killed her.

“The monster has a face and a name, and he is in jail, where he belongs,” she explained.

According to Joseph Kolek, a New York State Police captain, police interviewed Holley four times during their investigation. According to the criminal complaint, he told contradictory stories and gave alibis that were refuted by several witnesses.

“We believe this crime was committed by intimate partner violence,” Kolek explained. “Additionally, Ed Holley owed Megan a substantial sum of money.”

McDonald and Holley were dating until shortly before the murder. McDonald had only recently begun dating someone else when she was murdered.

According to the criminal complaint, on March 13, 2003, McDonald told friends she was skipping a party because Holley was there. According to witness statements from that night, McDonald attempted, but failed, to obtain marijuana from a number of people. Holley was her primary supplier. According to investigators, McDonald used Holley as a “last resort.”

Police interviewed numerous witnesses who were present that night. Officials claim to have conducted hundreds of interviews during the course of the investigation. Those interviews, combined with physical evidence, led them to Holley.

According to police, some of the physical evidence was gathered from McDonald’s car, where she was killed. The car was abandoned in a different location than where McDonald’s body was discovered.

“There have been tremendous advances in DNA technology over the years.” “As advances in DNA technology have occurred, we’ve attempted to leverage those advancements and resubmit evidence for further DNA analysis, which is what we’ve done in this case,” Kolek said.

According to officials, Holley was already in police custody when the arrest warrant was served. He was arrested in October 2021 following a narcotics investigation. Holley was given probation, which he broke. In late February, he was returned to jail.

McDonald’s brother-in-law, James Whalen, described Holley as a monster.

“This is a vile human being capable of brutally murdering a beautiful, lively 20-year-old woman and using every effort to keep his part in this heinous crime a secret for 20 years,” he said. 

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