Authorities in Massachusetts say they have figured out at least one of the people responsible for the disappearance and killing of a professional gambler nearly 30 years ago.
Howard Ferrini, 53, was last seen by his friends at the Raynham dog track in August 1991.
He left the track to go to his home in Berkley intending to return, Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn’s office told the Taunton Daily Gazette, but he never came back.
When Ferrini didn’t head back to the track that evening, his friends were surprised, but they were unable to reach him.
On August 22, 1991 the body of Howard Ferrini was found inside of a vehicle parked at Logan Airport in Boston. Ferrini was a resident of Berkley, and had been missing for several days before his body was discovered. He is pictured with daughter, Kelly, several years earlier
A few days later, friends stopped by his home but there was no sign of him.
About a week after he disappeared, Ferrini’s body was found in the trunk of his own car in a parking lot at Logan International Airport. An employee had noticed a smell coming from the 1988 Cadillac parked on the fourth floor of the parking garage.
Police found that Ferrini had injuries to his head, and that a plastic bag had been placed over his head and tied tightly.
Investigators determined that he had been killed in his home from a hammer blow to the skull before having the bag placed over his head. His body was then driven to the airport.
Because he still had his gold jewelry and about $6,000 in cash, authorities ruled out robbery as a motive.
Howard Ferrini’s body was found decomposing in the trunk of his car. The car had been parked in a parking garage at Logan Airport in Boston, pictured
Ferrini’s body was found at Boston Logan airport after an employee smelled a strong odor coming from a blue Cadillac parked on the fourth level of the airport garage
At his home, police found the doors and windows to be locked. Upon gaining access, investigators found the telephone had been unplugged and there were traces of blood in the kitchen.
The kitchen had been extensively cleaned and a white film of cleaning powder was found on the floor, yet cops were not able to locate Ferrini’s own mop or a hammer.
Police believe Ferrini was assaulted in his home before being dumped in the trunk and driven to Logan airport with at least two people involved.
Despite the best efforts of the Berkley police and Massachusetts State Police, no one has ever been identified as being responsible for Ferrini’s murder — until now.
Mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan has now been linked to the 1991 killing.He was shot dead in 1992
New developments in scientific and forensic technology together with a rapidly developing field of genetic genealogy, which combines DNA analysis with genealogy, now allows previously unknown perpetrators of many serious violent crimes to be identified.
The Cold Case Unit is reviewing every piece of evidence from every homicide over the last 45 years to determine whether new leads can be developed from employing these new methods.
In this case, the DA’s office said new technology combined with old-fashioned detective work helped crack the case.
The DA’s cold case unit, with help from state police and the FBI, matched fingerprints on the bag used to suffocate Ferrini to Kevin Hanrahan.
Hanrahan was in and out of prison in the 1980s for jury tampering, intimidating witnesses, drug trafficking and counterfeiting.
Hanrahan worked for the Patriarca crime family in Providence, and was a criminal associate of Frank ‘Cadillac’ Salemme, a former mafia boss, pictured above
According to the DA’s office, Hanrahan was a violent criminal known to be a freelance enforcer for the Patriarca crime family in Providence, a criminal associate of Frank ‘Cadillac’ Salemme and Gordon O’Brien.
He was shot to death in Providence in 1992.
Kelly Ferrini, Howard Ferrini’s daughter, was 18 when her father was killed.
She believes that because of her father’s record, police did not work as hard to find his killer in the 1990s, and she was shocked when the DA’s office told her they had identified someone in the killing.
Now 47, she said she hopes they may find others involved who are still alive and can be held responsible.
‘I know he did a lot of bad things in his time,’ she told the newspaper. ‘But as far as being a father, he was a very good father.’
‘He spoiled me rotten,’ she said. ‘Anything I wanted I got.’
Investigators are still looking for information on a second person that is believed to have been involved in Ferrini’s murder and should call Massachusetts State Police at 508-961-1918.