Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pressures Not to Reveal Information

This post considers kinds of pressures exerted on people not to reveal information relevant to my brother Mark’s death.

Clearly, the person who sent me an anonymous letter with very important information late last summer (see post of August 11, 2014) felt pressure not to reveal his or her name.  If true (and nothing in the letter suggests any form of ignorance of the facts or attempts to fabricate), the following two points raised by this individual make it obvious that the New York State Police did not want to solve this case and that they had to be protecting someone: (1) Mark’s wife Susan was having an affair with Salamanca police officer Mark Marowski, and (2) immediately before the truck fire, Mark was at the house of a neighbor, who said that my brother could not have had a .25 blood alcohol level.

According to Inv. Kalfas, he couldn’t find out if Susan had been having an affair, yet the State Police never checked the phone records and refused to do so when asked.  Kalfas also insisted that he couldn’t find anyone who had seen my brother out the entire day of the fire.  But the investigator couldn’t have made much of an effort, for what neighbor or friend would conceal from the police such information about Mark’s whereabouts at the critical time just before his truck mysteriously burst into flames in the empty field across from his house (and just before Mark himself mysteriously left a pool of blood in his driveway)?

Those two points in the anonymous letter are crucial pieces of information for Mark’s case.  Who was the neighbor my brother was visiting just before the truck fire?  Did other individuals beyond the writer of the letter see Susan and Marowski together in public?   (According to the letter, Susan “was observed riding a 4-wheeler with him [Marowski] on numerous occasions.”)  Anyone who has any information about either of these two issues should make it public in whatever way seems suitable.  (If you aren’t comfortable making your name known, you can send a comment anonymously to this blog [as blog manager, I get only the comment and no identifying information about the sender] or anonymously to the Salamanca Topix site.)

From the information contained in the anonymous letter, the writer would appear likely to have been a neighbor of Mark’s and Susan’s.  In a rural community such as Great Valley and the nearby small town of Salamanca, New York, residents are closely intertwined through family relations (as one person put it, everyone seems to be a cousin of someone else you know), neighborhoods, employment (the former railroaders, for instance, will be the subject of a future post), church, and social clubs.  If the author of the anonymous letter lives (or lived) in my brother’s neighborhood, what kind of pressure did that put on the individual?

This blog has exposed problematic statements made by several of Mark’s neighbors concerning the night of the fire: Dan Smith’s claim that my brother, with third-degree burns over almost his entire body, spoke clearly and casually to him on the scene of the fire (see esp. post of March 13, 2013); Eugene Woodworth’s insistence to me and Inv. John Ensell that he knew nothing about what happened the night of the truck fire, even though, according to a church secretary, he had told her about hearing a commotion and screams on Mark’s property just before the truck went into the field (see esp. post of July 24, 2014); and the reported claim by the Myers couple--Joseph, brother of a veteran local policeman, and Tracie, the daughter of Peter Rapacioli, who was allegedly on the phone with my brother’s wife for half an hour immediately before the fire--that they had slept through the entire incident, in spite of the noise from the sirens of the emergency vehicles and from the Medivac helicopter (see post of December 24, 2013).

Since the writer of the anonymous letter referred to my blog, that individual had presumably read my discussion of the problematic aspects of the statements by those neighbors that were so readily accepted at face value, or at least left unchallenged in any way, by the State Police.  What effect would the troubling statements of those neighbors have on another neighbor who wanted to reveal in a straight-forward, honest manner information with very different implications?

The author of the anonymous letter indicated problems in the marriage of my brother and his wife, evidenced by the allegation of an affair between Susan and Mark Marowski and by Susan’s statements about Mark’s drinking.  Another one of my brother’s neighbors told me that she had been aware that relations between Mark and Susan “were not warm and fuzzy” but did not go further than that.  However, a relative of that neighbor informed me that the woman had in fact heard Mark’s and Susan’s arguments but “did not want to get involved.”  Why did she choose “not to get involved”?

How many other neighbors knew about the acrimonious relations between my brother and his wife?  Did they reveal their information to the State Police investigator?  Although Inv. Kalfas told me in the fall of 2003 that he knew my brother and his wife had had a very troubled marriage, he says nothing about that problem in the police report.

My nephew Tom McKenna, who unfortunately died in the early hours of May 23 after having surgery, told me what he had observed when he visited the house about a month before my brother’s death.  Tom was shocked to witness Susan’s overt hostility to Mark, who had come in “slightly tipsy.”  After I reported this information in a complaint about the investigation to the Internal Affairs Division of the New York State Police, I was referred to Capt. Steven Nigrelli, who said that he would follow up on certain points I had made.  Yet after Tom was interviewed on the phone by the State Police official assigned to that task, the summary by the State Police distorted virtually everything Tom had told the official (see post of January 16, 2015).  The State Police have repeatedly covered up information pertaining to Mark’s and Susan’s marital problems, to the allegations that Susan was having an affair, and to all issues related to Ofc. Mark Marowski.

It took courage on my nephew’s part to inform me about such sensitive information (not limited to that incident at Mark’s house) and to be willing to report it to the State Police.  Tom did so in the face of pressures one would not have expected.  After he reported a conversation in which his mother Carol revealed Susan’s claim that Mark had left a suicide letter and I put up a post on the matter (see November 23, 2013), Tom told me that Carol had called him and angrily snapped, “Why did you tell her?”  According to Tom, he replied, “If you didn’t want me to say anything, you shouldn’t have told me.” 

I was also informed that within hours after Tom was interviewed in January 2015 by the State Police about the incident at the house described above, his mother called and told him that if he had anything more to do with this, there would be trouble and that she had better not find out that he was giving me any more information.  She then apparently hung up on him.  It is not clear how Mark’s and my half-sister would have known that Tom had been interviewed.  Had the State Police called her as well?

Suffice it to say that Tom should not have experienced any pressure to keep silent about what he knew concerning the last weeks of Mark’s life, least of all from his own mother.  My dear nephew wanted justice for his uncle and showed his mettle in his efforts.  He unfortunately cannot be here to see justice done for Mark.  But those who also have a conscience can make a difference if they reveal what they know about my brother’s death and not let the State Police continue their travesty of justice.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, these are the problems of small-town living and widespread police ineptitude (both the inadvertent kind and the deliberately self-protective kind).