Archive for the ‘botched police investigations’ Category

The Mysterious Death of Patrick Rust

August 13, 2011

The unexplained death of Patrick Rust will be profiled on the Simon Barrett  show on Blog Talk Radio on Sunday, August 14, at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Patrick was a sergeant in the Army’s 10th Mountain Diviaion headquartered at Fort Drum near Watertown, New York. He survived deployments toIraq andAfghanistan, only to die mysteriously right here in his own country, not far from where he was born.

Patrick went missing from a bar in Watertown on March 16, 2007. Six months later his remains were found in a farmer’s field approximately three miles from that tavern. It is unknown how he got to that location. He didn’t have a car and it’s doubtful he’d have walked there on a cold March night. There was no evidence of robbery and his remains showed no trauma. The cause and manner of Patrick’s death remain undetermined.

On behalf of the Rust family, Bill Sullivan, owner of Forensic Consulting Specialties in Syracuse, New York, and investigator Denny Griffin are seeking explanations to the questions the autopsy couldn’t answer. They will join Simon and the panel to discuss the history of the case and the current status of their investigation.


Crime Wire on June 28

June 28, 2011

Crime Wire on June 28

 Segment One: The Sandra White case

 On April 10, 2006, 65-year-old Sandra White of Weaverville, North Carolina was murdered by her 73-year-old husband Ray. He staged the house to make it appear that the death was the result of a robbery gone bad. He went so far as to drive down the highway and throw Sandra’s purse out as a robber may have done. However, after several days of questioning by the police, Ray White confessed to the murder. He was subsequently charged with involuntary manslaughter and posted $100,000 bail.

And then things turned a bit weird. The judge released White to the custody of his brother, David White, inFlorida. Sandra’s family believes that today Ray is living inSt. Petersburgand enjoying life as a free man. The now 78-year-old has yet to stand trial in aNorth Carolinacourt. The family’s efforts to get answers fromNorth Carolinaauthorities have met with non-responses, inaccurate information and stonewalling.  

Joining us to discuss the case will be Gene Cervantes of Citizens Against Homicide and Sandra’s nieces, Tamara Cramer and Heather Snyder.

Segment Two: The CUE Case of the Month

Jessica Lowery disappeared fromLumberton,North Carolinaon December 20, 2005. The then 25-year-old left her residence at approximately 3:00 a.m. and has not been seen since.

Monica Caison and Jessica’s father Jimmy, will be on hand to talk about the disappearance and investigation.  

You can hear Crime Wire Investigates beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Also, please visit our Crime Wire Website.

Together we can make a difference.

Crime Wire on June 14

June 14, 2011

On the night of March 24, 1961, Frances DiMare, hysterical and barefoot, stumbled into a gas station at2350 NE 123rd Street inNorth Miami,Florida.

About 150 yards away, in a vacant lot, the body of her husband, wealthy produce merchant Joseph DiMare, was slumped in the driver’s seat of his white 1961 Cadillac. He had been shot four times, including once through the mouth, with a .25 caliber pistol.

Francestold the police the couple has just left their Keystone Point home when two gunmen jumped into their car as they idled at the red light atNorth Bayshore DriveandNortheast 123th Street. The attackers ordered the couple to drive to the vacant lot next to the Broad Causeway, where they pistol-whipped them. She said she passed out and that when she came to, her 52-year-old husband was dead. No one has ever been charged with the murder.

Over the five decades since the murder the case has faded into obscurity, except for one person. Richard DiMare, Joseph’s son, has been unwavering in his quest to get justice for his father, sometimes becoming an annoyance to local law enforcement.

Richard DiMare and his sister Linda will join us to talk about the case.

On January 16, 1987, 17-year-old Joseph Helt, of Ellenville,New York, was with friends at the old Mount Cathalia Ski Lodge inCragsmoor, New York, a popular local party spot. At approximately 3:30 a.m. Joe left in a car with three acquaintances, Kelly Diaz, Wade Marks and John “JP” Laforge.   According to these three, their car got stuck in a ditch on Sam’sPoint Road. Joe got frustrated and left to walk back to Ellenville. Kelly and Wade left about 20 minutes later, walking the same way Joe did. John left 10 minutes after that and walked the short distance back to his home in Cragsmoor. Kelly, Wade and John all made it home safely. But Joe was never seen again.

Now, over 24 years later, Joe’s family is still trying to piece together what happened to him that January night. Those efforts are meeting resistance, however. Authorities refuse to release police reports and other documents that are crucial to conducting an independent investigation.

With us to discuss the status of the investigation will be Joe’s aunt, Beth Churchill, and family friend Gina Schuster.

You can hear Crime Wire Investigates beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Also, please visit our Crime Wire Website.

Together we can make a difference.

Crime Wire on June 7 – Scandal in Oklahoma

June 3, 2011

On July 12, 2000, 23-year-old Chanda Turner was shot to death at her home in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma.  Her boyfriend claimed she shot herself while he slept through the sound of gunfire, and then found her outside on the back steps after she was dead.  Crime scene photos depicted blood throughout the inside of the home, including on the mattress the boyfriend claimed he was asleep on. The mattress had been stripped of sheets. There were more signs of clean-up in the bedroom, including a bottle of cleaning solution on the floor. The boyfriend had fresh scratches on his arms, and Chanda was covered in bruises. There were signs of a struggle in the living room, including broken furniture.

Despite all these red flags that Chanda did not commit suicide, but actually fought for her life, a Medical Examiner Investigator went to the scene and, without an autopsy having been performed, effectively closed the case by classifying the death a suicide.

The repeated requests of the Turner family for an autopsy were denied for almost 10 years.  Knowing they would never give up fighting to get justice for their daughter, her parents buried her in a sealed casket inside a sealed crypt to preserve her body for the day when they could finally get an autopsy.

That day came in December 2009.  The family finally got a Court Order which resulted in an exhumation autopsy.  The two pathologists who performed the autopsy – then-Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Collie Trant, and Colorado Springs Coroner, Dr. Robert Bux – ruled the death a homicide.

In another case, on October 28, 2009, 27-year-old Katrina Rivera-Hill died in small-town Tuttle inGrady County,Oklahoma, after spending nine days in a coma. Katrina had supposedly intentionally jumped from a moving vehicle, causing her own fatal injuries. This information was provided to the police by the only witness to the incident. He was the driver of the car and Katrina’s ex-boyfriend, who had a history of domestic violence against her.

The Tuttle police took his word that on October 19th, Katrina was in a suicidal state and jumped from his moving car. They forwarded their report to the Medical Examiner’s Office where, without further investigation, Katrina’s death was ruled a suicide.  

Katrina’s family was incensed. After a few months of dealing with the Tuttle police, the family got the Highway Patrol involved with the help of the Grady County District Attorney. After their investigation, the HP issued a 300 page report that concluded Katrina’s death was a homicide. In spite of this new information, the ME refused to change the manner of death.

But the families of Chanda and Katrina weren’t the only ones who believed they had been wronged by the system. Joining forces, the families launched a campaign to resolve the issues at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Their efforts resulted in the Chanda Turner Reform Act.

With us to explain how the fight was waged and won will be Chanda’s parents, Joe and Donna Turner, Katrina’s mother and step-father, Sam and Michele Speziale, and attorney Jaye Mendros.

You can hear Crime Wire Investigates beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Also, please visit our Crime Wire Website.

Together we can make a difference.