Unknown Walter Fedorwich Killer- New York- 1997 Mar 16, 2017 2:16:56 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Mar 16, 2017 2:16:56 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: mynbc5.com via New York State Police)
PERU, N.Y. —
A faded Polaroid photograph of a man wearing a cowboy hat and a leather jacket, adorned in medals, is one of the only known photographs of Walter Fedorwich, a Peru man whose murder has eluded investigators for two decades.
An autopsy in September 1997 found that Fedorwich, 88, died of asphyxiation and blunt-force trauma to the head. While police have investigated the homicide for what will be 20 years this fall, the case has never been solved.
Police believe Fedorwich had upwards of $100,000 in cash at his home on State Route 22. That money has also never been found.
The photograph, along with boxes of notes and other pieces of evidence, is with New York State Police, specifically investigator Jeremy Viele, of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
"From what I’m gathering, he was a peculiar guy," Viele said. "He was not known as a menace or anyone that would bother anyone."
New York State Police have stayed committed to developing leads in the case over the last two decades. They are now resubmitting evidence to state and FBI crime labs, as well as encouraging the public again for any information about the case.
Fedorwich lived alone before his death. Neighbors described him as eccentric, but innocuous. He did not drive and was often seen hitchhiking or walking around the area, police said.
In a interview with NBC5 crews in the days after Fedorwich's death, a neighbor, Isabelle Fountain, told reporters that he always kept the lights on the front of the home.
"This Friday night, the lights was off," she said in 1997. "The windows were blocked with blankets or towels, I do not know. I could not see in the building and I thought it very strange."
An autopsy found Fedorwich died in the late evening of Sept. 12 or the early morning hours of Sept. 13. In the days after his death, police conducted traffic stops and searched his dilapidated home.
Police continue to believe that the home had been ransacked.
"You could tell someone was looking for something," Viele said. "There were certain areas of the home that looked like they’d been tampered with, as if someone was looking for something in particular."
Police said investigators found Fedorwich dead and bound to a bed.
Friends and neighbors knew Fedorwich as Curly. Police said some also knew him as "the Mad Russian." In video from the NBC5 archives, a neighbor said, "(Fedorwich) was harmless. I don't think he ever hurt anyone."
Despite reports of his harmlessness, police said Fedorwich demonstrated some strange behavior. He was known for carrying large sums of money and flashing it to people in the area, according to police.
Witnesses reported seeing two men in biker apparel speaking with Federowich at the end of his driveway days before he died. A dark-colored vehicle was also seen nearby.
"I can't rule them out," Viele said. "There’s nothing to discount or say that they weren't involved, which is why we would need to identify them. If they were involved, we can take that information forward, or if they weren't, we can rule them out."
Investigators were hopeful people who might have withheld information about the two men or other details of the case will still come forward.
Another element that continues to raise questions is the fact that Fedorwich traveled to the Rochester, New York, area a short time before his death. Police fear he might have told the wrong person, or people, there about his money.
"He did the same things there that he typically did around the local area, as far as letting people know that he was in possession of large sums of money," Viele said. "It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that somebody from the Rochester area came to Mr. Fedorwich's residence and could be responsible, at least in part."
Fedorwich's home was torn down in the years after his murder.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain said Troop B has had great success in solving cold cases and he remains confident in his team that they will stay diligent.
"Anyone who is an investigator, especially assigned to our major crime unit, that is their life’s work," he said. "That is their passion. They know that any case is solvable."
There is no statute of limitations for homicide in New York.
"People always talk about closure," LaFountain said. "I don't know if there is such a thing as closure, but it might add some sort of peace, at least knowing there's a conclusion or resolution to what happened to their loved one."
Tips can be directed to New York State Police Investigator Trevor Giroux at 518-897-2073.