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Police ID body found in Walmart parking lot

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    Orange cones surrounding where a body was discovered in the parking lot of the Walmart in Greenport on Thursday.
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    The outside of Walmart, 460 Fairview Ave., Greenport, on Thursday afternoon.
September 5, 2018 11:20 am Updated: September 5, 2018 07:00 pm

GREENPORT — The man found in his car in the Greenport Walmart parking lot was dead for nine days before he was discovered, police said Wednesday.

Thomas W. MacGregor, 59, of Athens, died from a heroin overdose Aug. 20, according to a statement from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Family and friends are mourning MacGregor, an accomplished architectural designer who worked at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and as a studio manager with Richard Artschwager.

Questions remain about why MacGregor remained undiscovered for nine days in a parking lot frequented by hundreds of customers each day. The parking lot of the Greenport Walmart, located at 460 Fairview Ave., has about 700 parking spaces.

Walmart declined to comment on the incident Wednesday.

MacGregor founded his own design firm based in Brooklyn, and completed residential projects across the state, including Manhattan and Brooklyn, Pemaquid and Amsterdam. He was a 1976 graduate of Albany High School and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and State University of New York at Albany.

Police reviewed video surveillance footage provided by Walmart showing MacGregor was in the parking lot since Aug. 20, according to police.

MacGregor’s ex-wife filed a missing persons report with state police Aug. 29, state police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel said.

MacGregor was found after state police asked Columbia County sheriff’s deputies to assist with the investigation.

Deputy David Pulcher found MacGregor in the Walmart parking lot by means of his last-known cell phone coordinates, which showed him to be in the area of Fairview Avenue and Joslen Boulevard.

MacGregor was staying with his parents at the time of his death, Nevel said. His parents are Billie and Thomas H. MacGregor, a professor of mathematics for 31 years, according to their son’s obituary.

Billie and Thomas declined to be interviewed Wednesday.

“In addition to his love of designing, building and renovating homes, Tom loved music, running marathons and fishing with his father,” according to his obituary.

He is survived by daughter, Elizabeth Marion MacGregor, of Brooklyn, according to his obituary.

Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, an Albany-based pathologist, arrived in Greenport to examine the body, Columbia County Coroner James Bertram said Aug. 30. An autopsy will not be performed.

Bertram did not respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday.

The French, Gifford, Preiter, and Blasl Funeral Home in Chatham removed MacGregor’s body from the scene.

Anyone with concerns of suspicious activity or behavior should contact police, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said in a statement.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenport Rescue Squad and Bertram responded to the scene and assisted with the investigation.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.