Location: Factory Brook Public Fishing Area in Homer, NY
Early the following morning, Patrick’s unmarried son, Thomas, age 31, hitched up the wagon to bring the day’s milk to Homer. At the intersection of Bishop and Creal Road (just a one-minute walk east from the Fishing Area), he was startled to discover his father’s motionless body. According to his son’s witness, Patrick lay face down, with his head in his hands. Thomas immediately rolled him onto his back and discovered his father had lain in a pool of blood coming from his ears and nose and had a terribly blackened eye. To his relief, Thomas heard his father breathing loudly, like he was snoring, and assumed he had simply passed out drunk, hitting his head.
Since Thomas was alone and there was no easy way to turn the wagon around, he decided to let his father sleep it off while he delivered the milk before it spoiled. After all, it was a balmy 40 degrees, and his father was well dressed. On his way home, he stopped by Doyle’s Pub to inquire whether his father perhaps had too much to drink or was in an altercation. When Doyle reported nothing of the sort, Thomas immediately made his way back to his father.
Returning to the spot, he found his father had not moved. Before dragging his body, with great difficulty, up on the wagon bed, Thomas noted that his father’s belt had been torn off from his waist, in the road were his jack knife, a plug of tobacco, and his pockets had been riffled. All the nails that had been in Patrick’s pockets had been strewn, and his pocketbook was missing. Not far from Patrick’s body lay a broken fence post, looking suspiciously like a weapon.
Thomas took his father back to the farmhouse that they shared with his unmarried sister Julia, age 34. Together, Thomas and Julia dressed his wounds and cared for their father. When afternoon came, and their father still lay unconscious worry set in, and they sent for Dr. White.
Dr. White performed surgery on Patrick’s skull, removing a fractured segment, hoping to relieve the pressure on his brain. Ultimately the surgery was unsuccessful, and on December 23 at 7:15pm, Patrick Quinlan gasped his last breath. The coroner’s report would show “…death was caused due to the man having received three blows which caused hemorrhages in the structure of the brain and to the shock of the structure of the head.”
Patrick Quinlan’s murder investigation had officially begun.