Unsolved: The Missing and Murdered Women of Chautauqua County, NY
Unsolved: The Missing and Murdered Women of Chautauqua County
May 13, 2009
Situated in the southwestern corner of New York State, Chautauqua County is the westernmost of New York's counties. The Web site of the visitors' bureau describes the area as a "gateway to the west," where visitors can enjoy "grapes, wineries, cultural, culinary, and resort centers." What you won't find on that Web site is information about the county's unsolved abductions and murders of women - some of which date to the 1980s.
Jane Doe: On Dec. 6, 1983, utility company employees discovered the partially clad body of a woman in a ditch along Route 17 in Ellery. The victim, who has never been identified, had been shot once in the back, twice in the chest, and once inside the mouth. Based upon the victim's characteristics, investigators believe she was a European; however, all attempts to identify her have been unsuccessful. She is described as a white female, 33-37 years of age, 5'4" and 128 lbs., with grayish brown hair and brown eyes. She had a wart above her left eye and a mole behind her left ear. The autopsy revealed that the victim had given birth to at least one child, some 15 years prior to her death. The victim had bridge work on the right side of her mouth, which is believed to have been done in Europe. A handwritten note found with the victim was from the Blue Boy Motor Lodge in Vancouver, British Columbia; however, investigators have been unable to decipher the abbreviations and numbers written on it.
Kathy Wilson: Last seen on May 18, 1988, Kathy disappeared after an afternoon trip to Quality Markets in Falconer. Her vehicle was later found at another grocery store on the opposite side of town. On Sept. 24, 1989, Kathy's remains were found in a wooded area along Lindell Road in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Her case remains unsolved.
Judith Lynn McElheney: The body of 27-year-old Judith McElheney was found on Oct. 8, 1990, at a rest stop on Route 5 in Sheridan. According to police, she had sustained a single gunshot to her head close to her left ear. Investigators have been unable to determine a motive in the case, and no suspects have ever been identified.
Rebecca Nicholson: On Dec. 13, 1990, Rebecca's body was discovered inside her Westfield home. According to police, she had been shot. To date, no one has been arrested in the case.
Melinda Juul: An on-duty police officer discovered the body of 32-year-old Melinda Juul on the morning of Jan. 20, 1993, along Marion Street in Jamestown. The victim had been shot, and a .40-caliber shell casing was found at the scene. Neighborhood residents reported being suspicious of a black car that had driven through the area, but it remains unclear if the vehicle was connected to the crime. Melinda's body was approximately two blocks from a resource center, where she had helped care for the developmentally disabled. Melinda was last seen when she left work to go on break. According to police, she used her bank debit card at a plaza shortly before her murder. She also purchased a magazine at the Foote Avenue Quality Markets. Melinda's husband and four children were at home during the incident. The motive behind the murder remains unknown, and police have yet to name a suspect in the case.
Lori Ceci Bova: On the evening of June 7, 1997, 26-year-old Lori Bova, her husband Tyrone Bova, and her sister went to dinner at Red Lobster in Lakewood. Lori and her husband left the restaurant at about 10:30 p.m. and returned home together. According to the initial statements Tyrone gave to police, he last saw his wife shortly after their return home, when they got into an argument and she went outside to smoke a cigarette. What happened to her after that remains a mystery. Lori is described as a white female, 5'4" tall, 106 pounds, with long curly brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt printed with the words "Freeport Bahamas."
Yolanda Bindics: Twenty-five-year-old Yolanda was last seen on the night of Aug. 10, 2004, when she left her job at the Family Dollar store in Jamestown. The following day, police found Yolanda's car in the parking lot of an Arby's restaurant on Fluvanna Ave., about half a mile from the Family Dollar store. On Sept. 8, 2004, police found Yolanda's purse, keys, and other personal items in two separate storm drains in Jamestown. The search for Yolanda continued until Sep. 10, 2006, when hunters discovered her remains in a state forest in the Town of Charlotte. Yolanda's death has been ruled a homicide, and at least two persons of interest - both of whom maintain their innocence - have been named in the case; however, no one has been arrested, and the case remains unsolved.
Corrie Anderson: On Oct. 28, 2008, 36-year-old Corrie L. Anderson, a mother of three from Ashville, disappeared after visiting her boyfriend at the Lake County Dodge dealership on Washington Street in Jamestown. Items found at Corrie's house suggest she made it home before her disappearance. On Oct. 30, a hunter discovered Corrie's car abandoned at a gas well off Kortwright Road in the town of Busti, approximately two miles from Corrie's house. Multiple agencies have participated in a search effort. Authorities and members of the search and recovery group 3 View have used ATVs, helicopters, and dogs to inspect areas of interest; however, no sign of her has been found. Corrie Anderson is 5'11", 170 pounds, with green eyes and blond hair. She was last seen wearing black corduroy pants, a black leather jacket, and small wire-rimmed glasses. Her keys and black, 8" x 8" square purse, with a G.H. Bass & Company logo, are also missing.
Though investigators do not believe any of the cases mentioned here are connected, they have acknowledged that some of them have similar characteristics. Unfortunately, County Legislatures have repeatedly turned down funding requests for a cold case squad. As a result, it is unclear if any of these cases will ever be solved.
Anyone with information on any of the cases listed here should contact the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office at 716-753-2131 or the New York State Police at 716-665-3113.
Missing Mother of Three, Corrie Anderson, Needs Your Help
Who Killed Yolanda Bindics?
Photo Credits: Contributed
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