Dead or Alive? Was ‘Zombie Mike’ Found in the Woods of Niskayuna?
For nearly a decade residents of the Capital Region have felt uneasy knowing that "Zombie Mike", a traveling carnival worker wanted in connection to 2 rape cases, was still at large and possibly lurking in the woods of Niskayuna. Turns out he was in the woods but never made it out alive.
Late last week, Schenectady police announced that the skeletal remains they discovered in the woods behind Mohawk Commons in Niskayuna are in fact those of Steven Michael Hawkins. Also known as "Zombie Mike" due to his lack of hygiene and ability to live in the woods for extended periods of time. .
According to NBC 13, Michael Hawkins was wanted by local police as well as U.S. Marshalls for allegedly raping a disabled woman in a wheelchair in 2012 and allegedly raping the wife of an acquaintance in 2013.
Once Hawkins was charged in these cases he disappeared. In 2016 U.S. Marshalls joined the search as it was believed Mike could be traveling up and down the east coast due to his connections and experience with the traveling carnivals. A $5,000 reward was offered as well but tips lead to nothing.
In March of this year a skeleton and some personal belongings were discovered in the woods off of Consaul Road in Niskayuna. Police officials are calling Zombie Mike's death a suicide due in part to the evidence found at the scene, including a belt found hanging from a tree limb.
The remains were sent to Albany Medical Center for autopsies. Two molars from the skull were sent to the New York State Police Forensic Center, where DNA was extracted from the profile obtained, - Niskayuna Police Detective Sergeant Joseph Twitty.