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Questions Linger Following Startling Turn in Dejac Case

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – The bizarre murder case that jailed Lynn Dejac for nearly fourteen years is no longer being called a murder. Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark yesterday said he's dropping all charges against Dejac in light of new pathology findings.

Two medical examiners, including renowned pathologist Michael Baden, have concluded that thirteen-year old Cyrstalynn Girard died of a cocaine overdose - not strangulation.

With a new trial pending, Clark called them in to re-evaluate the evidence from the original trial. Baden said they were not as impressed with evidence of strangulation as they were with the presence of cocaine in Girard's blood. Specifically, he said there was excessive froth around her mouth that would be consistent with drug overdose.

Despite being exonerated, Dejac was emotionally distraught at the new findings. She said she learned of the D.A.'s press conference by watching television. Later in the day, Dejac and one of her attorneys, Steve Cohen, spoke with reporters.

She maintains her daughter was murdered by Dennis Donahue, Dejac's former boyfriend. And she said until that's proven, justice has still not been done.

Her lead attorney, Andrew LoTempio said he is also confused and shocked at the new findings. LoTempio said the original toxicology report noted only "miniscule traces" of cocaine found in Crystalynn's blood. And he said that was ruled out as a cause of death before the first trial.

He said the froth at the mouth would also be consistent with strangulation. LoTempio said the truth has been thwarted, but he would not elaborate as to theories or motives.

Clark said it is a simple case of Girard's tragic life, including abandonement and abuse, ending tragically.

Dejac said she takes full responsibility for leaving her daughter home alone the night she died. But Dejac said her failings should not be used to defame her daughter. She said her daughter was an honor roll student, a caring human being, and definitely not a drug user.

Dejac said her focus now will be doing whatever she has to to clear her daughter's name and to have someone hold her killer accountable. As for herself, Dejac said she is going to take time and to rebuild her life and to properly grieve for her daughter.

Dejac said she has given no thought yet to whether or not she will file a civil case against anyone for her wrongful imprisonment of nearly 14 years.

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