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After 17-year-old found dead, parents trace his final minutes

Posted: 11:17 PM, Mar 20, 2014
Updated: 2014-07-18 12:21:48-04

MASSAPEQUA (PIX11) – In the early hours of February 3, 2008, 17-year-old Kieran McCaffrey of Massapequa called his father and said he would be staying overnight at his friend’s house nearby.

But Kieran never made it home for Super Bowl Sunday, later that day. Five weeks later, his body was found floating in  Massapequa’s Grand Canal, near Adam Place—just south of Merrick Road.

“I felt like at the moment he needed me the most, when he was drowning and dying, that I wasn’t there to help him,” his dad, John McCaffrey, said tearfully to PIX 11.

Kieran McCaffrey had faced challenges in his young life, diagnosed with ADHD, which gave him trouble with focus in the classroom.  The side-effects from different medications affected his sleep and appetite.  Finally, Xanax seemed to be working to alleviate his anxiety, but Kieran got into squabbles with his parents about his pot-smoking.  He had minor scrapes with the law.  Still, they said, Kieran seemed to be making progress in an out-patient therapy program, and he was supposed to graduate from Massapequa High School.

“He was getting drug tested weekly,” his father said.

Just about 1 am on Sunday, February 3, 2008, Kieran called his father and said he would be sleeping over his friend’s house on Jetmore Place in Massapequa.   But later, Kieran left his friend’s home—and that’s where the last minutes of his life get sketchy.

Kieran’s mother, Tara McCaffrey, has pored through police blotters in the last, six years, trying to figure out if her son got into a confrontation, before he ended up in the canal.

McCaffrey

“There were kids breaking into cars,” she said, in the area where Kieran was walking home.  Kieran had an arrest record for stealing items from unlocked cars in Massapequa, and his mother thinks he may have been running from the police.  She pointed to one call on the blotter from 3:35 am on February 3, 2008, when police were looking for two, white males suspected of breaking into cars near Alhambra Road, stealing a laptop and iPod charger.

“I think he was chased into the water,” Tara McCaffrey said.

The Nassau County Police Department denies this assertion, telling PIX 11, “This case was thoroughly investigated by the Nassau County Homicide Squad and is now closed.”

It’s not closed for McCaffrey’s parents.

They are especially perturbed that they’ve never received an account from the teen Kieran spent time with that final night, John Karazia.  Karazia has avoided talking to the police in recent years and won’t talk to McCaffrey’s parents, they said.

“He’s never explained why he was calling him at 3, 4, 5 in the morning,” John McCaffrey told PIX 11.

PIX 11 tried to speak to John Karazia and his parents, at their home on Jetmore Place, but when we came to the door and asked about the Kieran McCaffrey incident, his mother threatened to “call the cops.”

When Kieran’s body finally floated to the surface of the Grand Canal—on March 5, 2008—he was only wearing his sweatpants.  His North Face coat had been found in the water the morning he disappeared.  John McCaffrey was summoned to the morgue to try and identify his son’s body.

“All I saw was a shroud around his face,” the father said.  “I had to call for his dental records.”

McCaffrey’s parents hope that someday soon, they will get the back story on what happened to their son, before he went into the canal.

“I feel like I let him down,” John McCaffrey told PIX through his tears.  “And when I went to therapy, I say in my head—‘I know, I did everything I could for him.’  But in my heart, I can’t live with it.