DNA ties man who died in prison to 1984 NJ killing, AG says

Apr 30, 2023, 8:09 AM | Updated: 9:40 am

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say DNA evidence has proven that a man who died in prison several years ago was responsible for the 1984 murder of a 19-year-old woman whose body wasn’t found for more than a decade after she disappeared from her family home in New Jersey.

The state attorney general and the Mercer County prosecutor’s office last week announced what they called “the conclusive identification” of Nathaniel Harvey, formerly of East Windsor, as the person responsible for the sexual assault and murder of Donna Macho.

Macho, 19, went missing from the East Windsor home where she resided with her parents and sisters on or about Feb. 26, 1984. A Boy Scout troop leader found her skeletal remains in a wooded area in Cranbury on April 2, 1995, and her identity was confirmed by dental records.

Around the time she disappeared, Harvey was arrested in several sexual assaults as well as an unrelated murder. Authorities said he was identified early on as a possible suspect in Macho’s murder “but investigative leads dissipated and the case went cold.”

“During the commission of his crimes, prosecutors say Harvey typically entered unlocked homes, where he would hold captive and rape young women,” authorities alleged.

DNA tests on evidence from the victim’s bedroom could not be matched with a specific person, but tests with current DNA technology matched it to Harvey “and determined that his DNA was the only DNA evidence in the room that should not have been present,” authorities said.

Macho’s body was found in a wooded area by a farm where Harvey briefly worked around the time of her disappearance, and her vehicle was found abandoned by a nearby sewer plant, within walking distance of Harvey’s home, authorities said.

Harvey was sentenced to death and later to life in prison in the 1985 rape and murder of a Plainsboro woman but maintained his innocence for three decades and was awaiting a third trial in the case. He was incarcerated from the time of his 1985 arrest until his death in South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton in November 2020, authorities said.

His former attorney, Eric Kleiner, said there was no evidence connecting his client to the 1985 murder “other than Harvey did a lot of bad things.” He declined comment on the announcement on Macho’s slaying but cautioned that the evidence should be carefully scrutinized given the troubled history of Harvey’s conviction.

“There’s a lot of problems with everything having to do with Harvey,” he said, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com reported.

Macho worked as a legal secretary and was hoping to make a career in modeling. Julie Burger, who was 14 when her older sister disappeared, told NJ Advance Media for NJ.com that the case “destroyed my family, the searching, the looking, the wondering.”

Speaking publicly about the case for the first time, she said the family hired “private investigators, trackers, psychics” in an effort to find the person responsible.

“We spent all the money we had,” said Burger, now a resident of Texas. “We still thought that somehow, maybe she was still alive. Maybe she was just hurt, or somebody was holding her. … I’m glad the case is closed, and it was him. But I feel he got away with it.”

United States News

Associated Press

Remains found over 50 years ago identified through DNA technology as Oregon teen

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The remains of a teenager found more than 50 years ago have been identified through advanced DNA technology as a young woman who went missing from Portland, Oregon State Police said. The remains are that of Sandra Young, a high school student who disappeared in 1968 or 1969, police said Thursday […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

California man arrested for making threats against election official in Arizona after 2022 vote

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of leaving threatening messages on the personal cellphone of an Arizona election worker he accused of rigging the 2022 election results, federal prosecutors said. The 52-year-old was charged with one count of communicating an interstate threat and will make an initial court […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Two more candidates file papers to run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two more candidates filed paperwork Thursday to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballots for U.S. Senate as Democratic Sen. Bob Casey runs for a fourth term and Democrats try to maintain a majority in the narrowly divided chamber. Brandi Tomasetti, a Republican from Lancaster County, and William Parker, a Democrat from Allegheny […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

A work-from-home tip: Don’t buy stocks after eavesdropping on your spouse’s business calls

HOUSTON (AP) — A word to the wise: If you overhear your work-from-home spouse talking business, just forget anything you may learn from it. And most definitely do not trade stocks using what authorities will almost certainly view as inside information. Tyler Loudon, a 42-year-old Houston man, learned this lesson the hard way. He pleaded […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden ally meets Arab American leaders in Michigan and tries to lower tensions over Israel-Hamas war

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — As Thursday dawned in Dearborn, Michigan, Arab American leaders entered a local coffee shop and greeted Rep. Ro Khanna of California before pulling up chairs at a table. Over the next two hours, the leaders spoke about how they were personally affected by the war in Gaza and criticized President Joe […]

4 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

DNA ties man who died in prison to 1984 NJ killing, AG says