Pierce Avenue home searched

Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division, Crime Scene Investigation Unit and investigators with the Traffic Division's Crash Management Unit spent Friday collecting evidence and conducting reconstruction mapping at a home at 1526 Pierce Ave. (Photos by RobShots)

After four days of evidence collection, Falls police say they have concluded their search of a home in the 1500 block of Pierce Avenue.

In a short, two-sentence message emailed to reporters Monday night, Falls Police Criminal Investigation Division Detective Capt. Kelly Rizzo confirmed that the activity at the house, reportedly tied to an "infamous cold case," was over.

"On Sept, 23, the NFPD wrapped up operations at 1526 Pierce Ave.," the message from Rizzo read. "Evidence collected will be examined and analyzed. We continue to have no comment until the results are obtained."

The police activity set off a firestorm of speculation on Friday, as detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division, Crime Scene Investigation Unit and investigators with the Traffic Division’s Crash Management Unit spent the day collecting evidence and conducting reconstruction mapping at the Pierce Avenue home as part of an investigation into what sources have called “an infamous cold case” homicide.

Investigators loaded up a transportable storage pod with material taken from the home.

Falls Police Superintendent Tom Licata declined to comment on the activity. 

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek also declined to talk about the ‘ongoing investigation.” But sources close to the investigation indicated to the Gazette that police were at the Pierce Avenue home because “significant progress had been made recently in a cold case.”

Falls police and the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office are known to be actively working on several high-profile cold cases, including the gang- and drug-related killing of Phil Bennett, the disappearance and murder of Regina Parmer and the linked dismemberment slayings of Loretta Gates and Terri Lynn Bills.

On Friday evening, police said, "(the) Criminal Investigation Division and Crime Scene Unit are currently conducting an investigation at a private residence at 1526 Pierce Ave. The investigation involves the property at that location and is in no way related to the current occupant of this residence.”

The police statement concluded, “At this time, there is no other information that will be released regarding this ongoing investigation.”

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