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Hot off the press: cold case murder info


A new initiative designed to get the public involved in helping the Buffalo Police Department solve murders and other crime is underway.

Common Council President Darius Pridgen has released the first edition of the "Unsolved Murders" newsletter.

"Because there are many families who feel as if, at times, their loved ones have been forgotten," he said. 

Pridgen said the goal of the newsletter is to encourage people to participate with law enforcement in bringing murderers to justice.

"But it's very difficult for law enforcement to do their job if they don't have the information," Pridgen said, "and the information, really, is in hands of many people in many neighborhoods."

Pridgen admits not knowing the number of unsolved murders in the city, but he said one is too many.  

"The death of Amanda Wienckowski still hasn't been solved. But we found her body in a garbage tote," he cited. "Well, somebody knows something and they need to say something because if we have this society of silence it will eventually erode the quality of life for everyone."

Along with homicide cold case information, Pridgen said the newsletter contains a free postcard people can use to anonymously report tips about murders or any crime.

"We know that we have the 911. We know people can call or text confidentially. But often times people don't want to be attached to the information at all for fear of retaliation," he said. "So this way it comes directly to a P.O. box and we will take the information directly to police."

The Council President said he is trying to find every avenue he can to make it easier for people to provide information about crime. He said the "Unsolved Murders" newsletter is available at businesses throughout the city.

According to Buffalo Police, the following are some of the cold cases they are working on:

  • Todd Hainey
    Date of Homicide: 9-16-96
    White male, age 32
    Found shot to death near the railroad tracks off of Hertel Avenue
    Homicide Case # 96-145
  • Hattie Mae Calhoun   
    Date of Homicide: 8-3-97
    Black female, age 36
    Murdered in her own home at 351 West Avenue
    Homicide case # 97-13
  • Willette Simmons
    Date of Homicide: 05-09-1981
    Black female, age 34
    Found stabbed to death while her three children slept in the rear of the family's 1st floor apartment at 934 Lafayette Avenue
    Cold Case Homicide # 81-1832

  • Daniel Joseph Frank
    Date of Homicide: 11-14-1977
    White male, age 19
    Victim found stabbed to death
    Cold Case Homicide # 73-1285
  • Journey Cooper
    Date of Homicide: 06-02-2005
    Black male, age 17
    Found on the fire escape in the rear of 400 Grant Place
    Cold Case Homicide # 05-108
  • Timothy Bryant
    Date of Homicide: 2-15-96
    Black male, young victim
    Found shot to death outside of a store at Fillmore Avenue and Woeppel Street
    Cold Case Homicide # 96-024

  • Hector Melendez
    Date of Homicide: 8-12-98
    Hispanic male
    Found shot to death at 354 Koons Avenue. He was last seen in the company of two unidentified females.    Cold Case Homicide # 98-146

  • Jeanene R. Bowman
    Missing since 2-10-1977.
    Age 17 at time of her disappearance
  • Jane "Gramma" Doe
    Date of Discovery: 9-26-95
    Still unidentified white female with grey hair and blue eyes, age 60-70
    Found floating in the water off of Squaw Island in September of 1995, wearing a trench type coat with a butterfly pin on it and new sneakers

Any information on these or other cold cases can be forwarded to the Buffalo Police Cold Case Squad at 851-4511 or www.bpdny.org.