By Eric DuVall
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda police opened a homicide investigation Wednesday after finding an unidentified woman dead in her Lincoln Avenue home.
Police Chief Randy Szukala said neighbors called police about 1 p.m. after becoming worried when they hadn’t seen the resident, identified only as a woman in her 30s, come out in several days.
When officers arrived on the welfare check request, they were greeted by the woman’s large dog, which prevented entrance until SPCA workers arrived to control the animal. Once inside, they found the woman, who had been dead for an undetermined amount of time. Szukala said an autopsy will need to be performed to determine the time of death, but he estimated it as “longer than today” based on information gleaned from the neighbors who called in their concern.
Szukala wouldn’t speak to the specifics of the body’s condition or a potential cause of death, but said it “looked very unnatural.”
The Niagara Falls Police Department crime scene unit responded to assist in collecting evidence. The home remained cordoned off with crime scene tape and investigators were in and out all afternoon and well into the night.
The police chief said investigators are intentionally withholding details of the crime scene early in the investigation in an attempt to eliminate potential suspects down the road. He said it appears her home was where the killing took place, meaning a public appeal for witnesses would likely only generate false leads that would cost detectives time to run down.
”Rather than pinpoint one person or another, we’ll take what we have tonight and go from there,” Szukala said. “We’re working closely with the district attorney’s office to determine what type of information we want to give out. It occurred in the house so there’s no need for a public appeal.”
He said police know little about the woman at this point and will have to interview friends and family to gain valuable clues as to who might have had a reason to kill her.
Szukala estimated an autopsy would be complete sometime today or Friday, depending on the medical examiner’s schedule over the holiday.
The crime marks the first homicide investigation in the Lumber City in nearly a decade, Szukala said.
”It has been a while, thankfully,” he said.
Contact editor Eric DuVall
at 693-1000, ext. 4112.Contact editor Eric DuVall at 693-1000, ext. 4112.