MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said law enforcement, as well as his office, continue to investigate unsolved cases regardless of how cold they may be.
WNYNewsNow reached Swanson by phone Tuesday afternoon after the New York State Police featured the 10-year-old cold case disappearance of Busti woman Corrie Anderson as part its “Cold Case Tuesday.”
“As with any cold case, we continue to briefly scan through, if any tips come through, they’re followed,” Swanson said. “With the Corrie Anderson case, there was a search conducted within the last two years, based on information. With those cases, they’re always there. They don’t go away, but really, most of them have stalled because evidentiary leads have stalled, as well. They’re in limbo, unfortunately.”
Swanson said, once new information is obtained, authorities will look to see where it leads.
“We’re always optimistic that something else will come about,” Swanson said. “Over the last three years I’ve been in this position, one year as the acting DA, we’ve looked at pretty much every cold case homicide that we have dating back to almost 2000. We’ve reviewed them, we’re looking for anything that may have been missed, but what you find, for the most part, is an exhaustive investigation that, unfortunately, stalls out and a lot of those cases are simply waiting for people to come forward, for evidence to surface.”
“It’s a common thing with cold case homicides. They’re very rarely solved, but in the off chance that something comes in, we’re ready to pick the ball up and advance it forward.”
Swanson declined comment when asked if there’s been any indication that the Anderson case is leaning towards a homicide.
“With these cold cases, any information about what we know, we don’t want to make public, because that can be used later in court to suggest that a witness has been tainted with information, that details were divulged about a crime scene that we may have uncovered or information about how a person may have died,” Swanson said. “Very rarely will you see any comments about specifics on these cases.”
The District Attorney said the toughest part, when investigating cold cases, is reassuring the victims’ families that authorities are doing everything they can.
“That’s a very difficult thing to do. In some cases, you’re talking about families that have been waiting 10, 15, 20 years for justice, and they’re calling on you to give them an answer that makes them feel good,” Swanson said. “Unfortunately, you aren’t able to tell them what they want to hear, and it’s difficult.”
Swanson said he continues to communicate with the families of numerous cold cases.
“I’ve spoken personally with members of several different cold case homicide victims. Most recently, I have an ongoing dialogue with Yolanda Bindics’ family and the (Dylan) Ownbey family, and there are a number of other cold cases where we’ve reached out to families reminding them, ‘Look, if you have any information that you don’t think you’ve provided law enforcement, please let us know,’ but, ultimately, they’re left wanting closure,” Swanson said. “It’s difficult when they’ve heard for so long that we’re doing all we can do.”
“To them, it kind of rings hollow. It’s tough. I can’t imagine losing a loved one and not having answers. It’d be very difficult.”
WNYNewsNow will continue to provide updates on any of the missing cold cases when more details become available.