CHEMUNG COUNTY (WETM) – New details are continuing to be released in the case of the kidnapping, torture, disfigurement and murder of Juan Jose Gotay in Chemung County earlier this year.
So far, the Chemung County Grand Jury has indicted three men in connection to the murder: Thomas Bovaird, Malik Weems, and Eddie Marte.
Here’s what we do and do not know about this case at this time:
Who all was allegedly involved?
Thomas Bovaird: The 21-year-old Horseheads man was the first to be indicted in the case. The Chemung County Grand Jury announced the indictment on Sept. 14, 2021.
Malik Weems: The 18-year-old from Pittsburgh was indicted on Sept. 21 for charges relating to Gotay’s kidnapping and death, as well as the kidnapping of another man.
Eddie Marte: The 25-year-old New York City native was indicted on Sept. 21 for charges relating to Gotay’s kidnapping and death, as well as the kidnapping of another man.
The indictments for Weems and Marte also listed multiple counts of kidnapping for an incident on April 6 or 7 when they allegedly kidnapped Joseph Waters in Chemung County for more than 12 hours with the intent to harm him and to make someone pay ransom for him.
These counts of kidnapping were included in the same indictments for the Gotay murder, but we don’t know if there is a connection between Waters and Gotay.
Weems and Marte were also arrested on April 27, 2021, for a third kidnapping and torture case in the city of Geneva in Ontario County. 18 News’ sister station, WROC, reported that 62-year-old Thomas Ferraro was also arrested for this incident. We do not know if Ferraro had any involvement in the Gotay murder.
What relation did they have with Juan Jose Gotay?
Juan Jose Gotay was from the New York City area, but Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore wasn’t sure from which borough.
We don’t know why Gotay was in the Elmira area, but Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore believes he was acquaintances with the suspects. “We definitely have motive,” he said; however, he didn’t specify what the motive was.
No information has been released regarding the motivation behind the kidnapping or why the three men allegedly chose to target Gotay.
Who was the second kidnapping victim?
Authorities have not released any more information on the kidnapping of Joseph Waters in early April other than what was included in the indictments.
The court documents said Waters was held “for a period of more than twelve hours,” but it’s unknown exactly for how long he was held against his will.
Wetmore said Waters lived at 1122 South Main Street in Elmira, but we still don’t know how old he is or what the result was of his kidnapping.
How did the alleged perpetrators know each other?
Weems and Marte have now been allegedly involved in three separate kidnapping cases. Bovaird was not mentioned in the kidnapping of Waters or the Geneva case.
We don’t know why Weems and Marte, neither of whom are from this area, were allegedly in Chemung County for this kidnapping or why they allegedly chose to dump Gotay in Potter County.
DA Wetmore said the investigation didn’t even look into why Potter County was chosen to dump the body, “other than convenience.”
What role did the Partridge St and West Ave properties play?
New York State Police spent several days combing through homes on Partridge and West during the spring looking for something related to the case. It’s not publicly known whether Gotay or any of the suspects had been in the homes or what other roles the buildings may have played. In the October 4 press conference, Wetmore said he wasn’t able to specify why these houses were chosen for the crimes.
Officials have said more information will be released in the coming weeks, and there will be a press conference later this week. 18 News will continue to follow any developments and update this story as more information becomes available.