Pleasantville firefighters gathered once again at Graham Hills Park Monday night to remember their former comrade Thomas Dorr.
Friends and co-workers each held a candle during their annual vigil in front of a tree planted in memory of their fallen friend, marking 22 years since Dorr was found murdered in the park on Jan. 7, 1996.
Dorr, 50, who worked for the White Plains Water Department, was near his Pollywiggle Road home feeding wild turkeys the day of his murder. Following the outing, he planned on walking to the Washington Avenue firehouse to join other volunteers on standby during a blizzard, but never made it.
Former Pleasantville Fire Department Commissioner John Brooks remembered people asking where Dorr was the night of the blizzard and the moment he realized things would never be the same.
“You know that sound when you hear nothing, and you know something is wrong?” Brooks said recollecting a phone call inquiring about Dorr’s whereabouts. “Right then I knew something bad happened.”
When firefighters learned Dorr was missing, they began a search. His body was found the next morning, beaten and stabbed, buried under two feet of snow.
Dorr had served with the Pleasantville Volunteer Fire Department since 1979.
Despite all the years since his death, Brooks noted how residents didn’t seem alarmed or dismayed by the brutal murder, suggesting people knew who Dorr’s killer was.
Dorr’s wife, stepson and son’s friend were all suspects, but the case remains unsolved now more than two decades later, and is one of two homicides in the village that are open cases. In October 2014, Linda Falkoff was stabbed to death in her Grandview Avenue home and police have yet to make an arrest in that case.
“Twenty-two years gone by, let’s hope one day everything gets settled,” Brooks said.
While Monday’s crowed was smaller than past years, Pastor Paul Egensteiner of Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pleasantville took a moment to appreciate the height of the tree and praised those who continue to gather year after year in memory of Dorr.
“Many of you didn’t know Tom, like me, but you know that he was part of this department and, therefore, know it’s important to keep his memory alive, so it’s a blessed thing to gather together to remember Tom and we’re just going to keep doing it,” Egensteiner said during the 10-minute ceremony.
“Maybe one day soon we’ll gather together and be grateful that those who have done this to Tom have been given the justice that’s coming to them. Whether that happens next year or not, I know we’ll gather again and remember Tom and the kind of person so many of you remember him to be.”