what do you know
- College student Connor Golden lost his foot when he stepped on homemade explosives in Central Park in July 2016
- Investigators are still looking for the person who planted the explosive gunpowder, although they don’t think the motive behind it is terrorism
- The Golden family was looking for clues themselves, and they found what could be game-changing in an old Instagram comment
For Conor Golden’s parents, that’s almost unbelievable.
Three years after their son’s lower leg was blown off by an explosive device in Central Park, no one has claimed responsibility. No one had enough conscience to report the suicide bomber to the police.
“It’s really hard to fathom a rotten person who would have done that,” Kevin Golden, the victim’s father, said from his home in Fairfax, Virginia.
Since the blast, Connor, who is spending his final year at the University of Miami in Florida, has made an inspiring physical recovery. He’s re-learning to walk, run, and even rock climb with his prosthetic foot. His parents say he’s also recovered psychologically, which is nothing short of fantastic.
His father said, “Connor has, in some ways, gone over more than we did. He forgave. I don’t know how he did it. But we didn’t.” “We remain very focused on figuring out how this could happen.”
So far, the best evidence in the unsolved case is a bakery bag that investigators believe contains the explosive — a homemade compound known as TATP, which is so sensitive to friction and heat that it can explode on impact.
The explosion on impact is exactly what happened three years ago.
On July 3, 2016, Connor landed on a bakery bag while leaping off some rocks near the entrance to Central Park on Fifth Avenue and East Sixty Street.
TATP exploded inside, ripping the baked goods sack to shreds—and destroying Connor’s leg.
Once investigators painstakingly pieced the bag together, they learned it had a unique background. The bag was originally used to package Cuban biscuits at La Unica Bakery in Union City, New Jersey. That’s about six miles from the site of the explosion in Central Park.
But in 2010, La Unica was sold to a new owner who now uses a plain, clear plastic bag to pack his crackers.
“I’ve owned this bakery since 2010,” said Jason Li, the current owner of La Unica. “I have never used this bag since I took on this job.”
This means that a homemade explosive maker had access to a bakery bag that had not been in circulation for nearly a decade.
The I-Team was unsuccessful in reaching Barbara and Jorge Paredes, who are listed in public records as the previous owners of La Unica Bakery. After the company was sold, they moved to Jacksonville, Florida.
Detective Andrew Cohen, the lead investigator for the New York Police Department in the case, said previous and current owners of La Unica cooperated in the investigation, helping him track down the manufacturer and printer of the bakery bag. But so far, no strings attached to the bag have indicated the detonator.
“We want answers for Connor. We also want answers for the family,” Cohen said.
Cohen continues to consider all the crime theories, but is inclined to believe that the bomber prepared the explosives somewhere within walking distance of New York City.
“The homemade explosives that were used – the high explosives that were used – are very unstable and transporting them from long distances would be risky.” “So we think it could be in this area — in the New Jersey and New York area,” Cohen said.
For this reason, Kevin Golden believes that your best bet for finding the mystery bomber lies with someone in the New York metropolitan area who remembers seeing a La Unica bag in 2016 — not long after it was used commercially.
“It’s not like this is a bag that’s coming from Target or Walmart,” Golden said. “We’ve been imploring people in New York to really step back and think about their relationships with this bakery. The people they know, the people in their network who frequent this bakery and might make some connections from any kind of suspicious circumstance.”