Today I saw the documentary film Cropsey on Netflix. It tells the story of the disappearances of several children and one young adult in Staten Island in the 1970s and 1980s and Andre Rand, the prime suspect. There’s Alice Pereira in 1972, Holly Hughes in 1981, Tiahease Jackson in 1983, Henry “Hank” Gafforio in 1984, and Jennifer Schweiger in 1987. (There’s also Audrey Nerenberg from 1977, but she didn’t disappear on Staten Island and isn’t mentioned in the film.)

Only Jennifer’s body was ever found, and there was insufficient evidence to prove murder. Rand was convicted of Jennifer’s kidnapping and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. In 2004, he was convicted of kidnapping Holly and got another 25 years to life.

Hank didn’t really fit the profile of Rand’s other victims, since he was male and 21 years old. But he was mentally disabled and functioned at the level of a young teenager, and he lived very close to where Holly disappeared from. In fact, as Cropsey shows, at one point just after Holly’s disappearance when a TV reporter was talking about her case, you could see Hank standing on the street right behind her.

The documentary is really good and I highly recommend it. Needless to say, I got a few bits of information for the Charley Project off of there.

12 thoughts on “Cropsey

  1. Jaime July 13, 2011 / 12:37 pm

    the s and p are transposed in the first sentence.

  2. Princess Shantae July 13, 2011 / 1:14 pm

    who or what is Cropsey? A victim? Sorry if I’m missing something obvious.
    Hank was mentally retarded, and so was Jennifer, I think. Audrey was schizphrenic and in pretty bad shape functionally. Connection?

    • Meaghan July 13, 2011 / 2:14 pm

      “Cropsey” was a nickname the local children had for some monster or boogeyman who was supposed to be living in the woods around the old mental institution. Andre Rand lived there instead.

      Tiahease Jackson, according to the film, had “learning disabilities.” She also had a variety of physical problems, but none of them were visible.

  3. Princess Shantae July 13, 2011 / 6:53 pm

    According to her profile Tiahease was dressed pretty warm for NYC in August. Sweater and ski coat.

    • Meaghan July 13, 2011 / 7:32 pm

      I hadn’t noticed that. It is odd, isn’t it? Maybe she was just one of those cold-blooded people who can never get warm.

      • Princess Shantae July 13, 2011 / 7:37 pm

        She had on summer type shoes though which makes it even stranger.

      • Meaghan July 13, 2011 / 7:49 pm

        She and her family were burned out of their apartment; perhaps she didn’t have much choice of clothes.

  4. CarlK90245 July 13, 2011 / 7:27 pm

    I saw the documentary about six months ago on the Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel. I agree that it was very interesting and informative.

    That was very haunting to see Hank Gafforio in the crowd.

  5. Dust July 14, 2011 / 6:22 pm

    that was the best documentary I’ve seen in a while,also saw it on netflix.

  6. amy July 15, 2011 / 4:29 pm

    I knew about everyone but Hank before I watched Cropsey about 6 months ago. We added him to Doe after I saw it because apparently no one had heard of him.

    Very haunting to see him standing behind the news reporter but his whole life is a bit haunting. He did, however, have a close family unit who is still looking for him.

  7. CarlK90245 September 5, 2011 / 12:56 pm

    I wonder why Brenda Crowley is never mentioned as a possible victim of Andre Rand. She disappeared from the Staten Island area in the same general timeframe as the other possible victims (i.e., after Alice Pereia and Audrey Nerenberg, and before Holly Hughes, Tiahease Jackson, and Henry Gafforio).

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