Matthew O'Dell
O'Dell 1 (2)
Name Matthew O'Dell
Occupation Activist
Pathology Serial kidnapper
Serial killer
Family Benjamin O'Dell (brother)
Status Imprisoned for life
Actor Michael Medeiros
First Appearance "Disappeared"

Matthew "Matt" O'Dell (alias The Chelsea Snatcher) was a serial kidnapper and serial killer. His crimes were part of a campaign against young urban professionals (popularly known as "yuppies").


O'Dell and his brother, Benjamin, were raised in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan by their widowed father, although he didn't have much time for them. During the nuclear power scare, he crashed a car through a fence in Seabrook as a symbol of protest. In his late teens, O'Dell started mentally deteriorating and developed unhealthy fixations. In his 20s, he was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Despite his mental health problems, O'Dell succeeded academically and graduated from Princeton University in three years, majoring in philosophy.

O'Dell subsequently moved to Harvard for graduate work in urban planning. He also got a job of some kind in Boston. Around this time, O'Dell and his brother began to grow apart. In 1991, when their father died, he left them a small inheritance with which O'Dell used to support himself while living in New York. He also got a some kind of government check. Due to his fervent activism, O'Dell got involved in neighborhood causes, community groups, and rent strikes. He helped his brother in filing a lawsuit against some developers and started writing pamphlets supporting his cause.


In March 1998, O'Dell broke into the household of Paul and Donna Ericson and kidnapped them. The Ericsons were yuppies he considered responsible, among others, for the evictions of his old neighborhood's inhabitants. Three days later, he kidnapped Nathan Faber, the Ericsons' landlord, as he deemed him a building speculator. He then proceeded to send a manifesto of his political campaign to the Daily News, threatening to commit more kidnappings unless it was published in its entirely, and subsequently shot Faber and the Ericsons to death.

O'Dell was eventually turned in by Benjamin after he recognized his brother's ideology in the published manifesto. Detectives Briscoe and Curtis arrested him in his shabby apartment. In court, while assisted by Danielle Melnick, he vehemently refused an insanity defense, going as far as to accept the death sentence. As she had made a deal with Benjamin, ADA Ross allowed the latter to speak about O'Dell's mental instability in the conclusive part of the trial. This enraged O'Dell but also oriented the jury in favor of a life imprisonment sentence.

Known Victims

  • 1998:
    • March 10: Paul and Donna Ericson
    • March 13-15: Nathan Faber