Details About Matt's Murder
In September 2014, Matt's father and cousin, Matt Sr. and Chuck Dougherty, recorded an updated and detailed video containing the details and actual surveillance video from Philadelphia on the day Matt was murdered. This video can be viewed on our Who Killed Matt Novak YouTube site here: http://youtu.be/VODC713w_-c
In February 2011, we (the Novak Family) wrote a letter to America's Most Wanted asking for their help (scroll down to read that letter with full details about Matt's murder) . AMW did contact us, added our story to their website, but the show was taken off the air by Fox in mid 2011.
In late 2011, the Lifetime Network picked up AMW and they contacted us again. Matt's story was recorded by AMW in January 2012, where Matt's cousin, Detective Chuck Dougherty from Gloucester Township Police, and Detective Brian Peters, from Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit, were interviewed for the story. Matt's parents recording the intro segment with John Walsh on May 14, 2012 at the Police Memorial in Washington DC.
The show aired on May 25, 2012 on the Lifetime Network. We did have a copy of that video on our YouTube site, but unfortunately it was removed for copyright reasons. However, Matt's cousin's interview at Gloucester Township Police HQ can be viewed here:
THE "FULL STORY" - from 2011:
This letter below, written by Matt's cousin, Detective Chuck Dougherty, to America's Most Wanted lays out all the details that took place on 9-28-2008 when Matt was shot and killed, and all the details since that horrible day on how the Novak family and friends, and Philadelphia Police have been on the hunt for the COWARDS who murdered him.
Dear America’s Most Wanted,
My name is Chuck Dougherty, and I have been a Police Officer in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, for the past 16 ½ years, and most recently a Detective in the Technical Services Unit. I have seen, witnessed, and investigated my share of crimes against innocent men, woman, and children, but on September 28, 2008 the unthinkable happen to my family and I- my cousin/ God son was murdered.
It is a night I will never forget. I was over a friend’s house watching the Philadelphia Eagles play on TV when my mother called my cell phone, crying hysterically, and told me that Little Matt was killed in Philadelphia. The next day, I drove to my Uncle Matt Sr.’s and Aunt Sue’s house in Mullica Hill, NJ, to assist in any way I could. They were obviously still in shock, and asked me to drive them to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office. Once there, it was obvious that they wouldn’t be able to make a positive identification on Matthew, so I did it for them.
The ME took Little Matt’s Aunt and I into another room, and showed us an 8 X 11 photo of Matthew. It was at that moment when it hit me that I wasn’t looking at “just another dead body”, like I’ve done so many times in the past on the job as a career Police Officer, or during my 18 years as a volunteer firefighter. This was my family. From that moment on I swore I would do everything in my power to help my family and the Philadelphia Police Department find the people who killed Matthew.
The reason I’m writing this letter is to ask for your help, because Matt’s murder is unsolved, and the circumstances surrounding the entire incident is a complete mystery. We have video of the murderer’s blue Chevy Impala with unreadable New Jersey tags, we have witnesses who saw three black males in that car, and we currently have a $21,000 reward via Citizens Crime Commission of Delaware Valley. We know Matt’s friend’s car was broken down on 6th Street in Philadelphia, the blue Impala passed by them twice, and Matt flagged them down and asked them for a ride to get jumper cables. What we don’t know is what took place in that Impala for the few minutes Matt was in it, why they shot them, who they are, and why we haven’t received one single tip after posting at $21,000 reward. Matt’s story has been on the local news, in news papers, and all over social media sites (that I manage) since the original $5,000 reward was posted in September 2009, during and after our Family Picnic/ Fundraiser in August 2010, and just recently on NBC 10 Philadelphia’s segment called “On The Case”.
Here are the details of Matt Novak’s murder and everything we have done so far:
Matthew B. Novak was 24 years old in 2008 when lived with his parents in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, which is located approximately 20 miles outside of Philadelphia. Matt and his two friends, Ernesto and Chris, were planning on attending the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 28, 2008. They slept over Matt’s house the night before, and ate breakfast with Big Matt and Sue before they headed out in Ernesto’s yellow Dodge Neon to the parade. Big Matt told them before they left to “watch out for each other’s backs” and for them to stay safe.
The three young men were enjoying the parade in the North Philadelphia area when it began to rain, and they decided to start heading home. While Ernesto was driving his car south on 6th Street, Matt and Chris began to argue about a girl they had just met. Ernesto became annoyed at them, pulled his car onto the left shoulder of 6th Street by Green Avenue, and told them to get out of his car and argue on the sidewalk. Two City of Philadelphia cameras on 6th Street captured the yellow Neon pulling to the curb, and the three young men exiting the vehicle at 18:07 hrs. After Matt and Chris finished arguing, Ernesto attempted to start his Neon, but the battery had died.
For the next thirty minutes or so, they attempted to get the car started, and Matt made several phone calls to other friends for assistance. The results of his phone calls were unsuccessful.
At 18:52 hrs, a city camera located at 6th and Green Avenues, which was on a “tour”, moved to its north position and captured a 2006 to 2008 blue Chevrolet Impala, which appears to have unreadable New Jersey tags and a New Jersey new car dealer inspection sticker on the windshield, drive by Ernesto’s yellow Neon. Unfortunately, the other camera located at 6th and Spring Garden Streets (south of Green) was also on “tour” and facing another direction.
At 18:55 hrs, both cameras capture that same blue Impala, which obviously went around the block to travel south on the one way 6th Street again, driving past the yellow Neon. As the 6th and Green camera turns its tour north, the Impala is at the top of the screen. Matt, who wearing a white t-shirt and is standing along the driver’s side of the yellow Neon, flags down the Impala by raising his arms as it drives by. The Impala pulls to its left and parks under that camera and out of its view.
On both cameras, you can see Matt walking towards the Impala for a brief second before they continue their tour. Ernesto and Chris later relayed that Matt was speaking to the occupants (who they could not see or identify), and he walked back telling them that he was getting a ride to get jumper cables, and would be right back. Matt is seen grabbing a bag off the roof of the yellow Neon at 18:58:03 hrs before getting into the back passenger side seat of the blue Impala.
At 18:58:50 hrs, the camera at 6th and Spring Garden captured the blue Impala pulling away from the yellow Neon, driving in the left lane toward Spring Garden with its left turn signal flashing. Matt was in the back passenger side at that time.
During the next few minutes, it is unknown what happen between Matt and the occupants of the Impala, but it assumed the Impala turned left onto east Spring Garden, traveled north on 5th Street (or another one way north street) two block to Fairmount Avenue, where it turned left and traveled to 13th Street and pulled to the left curb. Three witnesses who were in the area of 13th Street and Fairmount Avenue stated they saw the Impala stop, and as Matt exited the rear passenger side, the driver’s side rear seat passenger shot him once in the groin area. Those witnesses also claimed the car was occupied by three black males. Matt began to run, but collapsed at the opposite side of the street, near a fence, and the Impala slowly drove off. The witnesses called 911 and attempted to assist Matt.
An ambulance and the Philadelphia Police were at the scene shortly after, and Matt was in and out of consciousness. Detective Brian Peters, from Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit, was in the area and responded to assist. He briefly talked to Matt, who relayed where Ernesto and Chris were located on 6th Street, and that he was shot by unknown people in an Impala with New Jersey tags.
Matt was transported to Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, where they attempted to operate on him to stop the bleeding in his hip. His parents, Matt Sr. and Sue, were notified about 20:30 hrs that Little Matt had been shot, and rushed to Hahnemann Hospital. As they sat in the waiting room, along with Ernesto and Chris, they were notified by the doctors at approximately 22:30 hrs that Matt had died.
Immediately, Detective Peters began his work. He discovered the two city cameras, which were brand new and still in a test mode at the time, on 6th Street and other surrounding streets, and also searched for other business cameras in the area. He also attempted to gather images from the EZ Pass cameras on the two bridges between Philadelphia and New Jersey, but their DVR’s over wrote the videos too quickly. I spoke to Detective Peters for the first time a day or two after Matt’s murder, and assisted with gathering any information from the New Jersey side, like a list of all titled Chevy Impalas in New Jersey from the New Jersey State Police. He also subpoenaed everyone’s cellular phone records, which included people Matt called for help, and the people they called. It was first thought that Matt could be the victim of a robbery, because some of his personal belongings were missing, but a few weeks later Hahnemann Hospital located those items.
Over the next 6 months, Detective Peters and Philadelphia Homicide Unit investigated every part of Matt’s homicide and found nothing. The videos were sent to several forensic labs by Detective Peters, Matt Sr, and I, but they all claimed the pixels were too blurred in the MPEG4 videos to make out the characters in the front tag. Car rentals businesses turned negative results. Detective Peters met with our family at the 6 month mark, showed up everything he did up to that time, and called Matt’s incident “A mystery”. The next 6 months after that meeting (and even now), Detective Peters questions people about Matt’s murder while investigating other homicides. To date, he still replays the videos and reinvestigates the case package over and over again, looking for anything that could help make an arrest.
At the one year mark, nothing turned up in Matt’s investigation, so Matt Sr. decided to contact the Citizens Crime Commission of Delaware Valley and post $5,000 of his money as a reward. He also began to contact the local media in Philadelphia and New Jersey areas and asked them to cover Matt’s story. Many of the television news channels and local news papers interviewed Matt Sr. and covered the story. Shortly after those stories were aired, I began to work on social network websites, which were MySpace and YouTube at the time, and named them “Who Killed Matt Novak? $5,000 Reward”. In less than a year, we had close to 10,000 people on the MySpace page, which has Matt’s story written in detail, the videos of the Impala from the City of Philadelphia’s cameras, and all the news stories that aired. We also have links to the news paper stories that were online. Shortly after those pages were created, Matt’s Aunt and Uncle donated another $1,000, bringing the reward up to $6,000. With the popularity of Facebook increasing, we created the “Who Killed Matt Novak?” Facebook Fan page, which currently has over 1,400 members.
In early 2010, lifelong friends of Matt Sr. came up with an idea to hold some type of a fundraiser to increase the reward money. After much planning and ticket selling, the “Who Killed Matt Novak” Family Picnic and Reward Money Fundraiser was held on August 14th, 2010 at Tall Pines Day Camp in Williamstown, New Jersey. The fundraiser was a major success, which raised the reward money to $21,000, and allowed us to purchase laminated flyers which were hung everywhere in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area. The local media also attended, covered the events of the day and interviewed Matt Sr. Their stories were aired that night, and printed in the news papers. Again, we added those videos to our “Who Killed Matt Novak” social networking websites.
Now it’s February of 2011, and we as much information about Matt’s murder as we did on 2008. The Citizens Crime Commission hasn’t received one solid tip, as well as Philadelphia Homicide. After speaking with my Uncle Matt recently, we are starting to believe that the people in that blue Impala may not be from the Philadelphia/ South Jersey area, and Matt’s local story isn’t reaching people who have information. We find it hard to believe that three people involved in targeting and shooting a person they just met have kept their secret to themselves, and didn’t brag about it to their friends or girlfriends. Relationships can fall apart over time, and we are still hoping that someone with the information will do the right thing and make that phone call.
We are asking for your help, America’s Most Wanted. Our family needs the help from a major outlet like your show, which many people watch, surf your website, and are fans of your Facebook page. Please consider Matt’s story for one of yours, and help us catch these cowards before they hurt someone else and their families.
Attached in this package are discs containing all the videos, including the original videos from the City of Philadelphia (and the Cisco Video Player their videos use), as well as all the photos collected by myself over the past 2+ years.
These are the addresses to our social network sites:
or “Google” Who Killed Matt Novak.
You may also contact Detective Brian Peters at Philadelphia Police Homicide:
Thank you very much for your consideration, and please contact me with any questions you may have.
Detective Chuck Dougherty
Gloucester Township Police
1261 Chews Landing Road
Blackwood, New Jersey 08021