Monday, December 26, 2016

More on the Issue of Mark’s Concerns about His Safety

This post expands on the issue that my brother had expressed concern about his safety at the place where he was working as a security guard (see post of September 24, 2016).  According to more than one individual, Mark bought a pistol for protection at his job as a security guard at M&M’s, a Seneca Indian-owned business selling gasoline and discount cigarettes, in nearby Steamburg, N.Y., just off I-86.  Although he reportedly kept the gun in the glove compartment, the police report makes no mention of a gun among the items found in his truck, which included the gas can suspiciously located on the passenger’s side floor.

What reasons could Mark have had for his concerns about his safety?  When I brought up the issue with an individual who according to one source had also worked at that M&M’s location, that person denied ever working there but was familiar with the location.  The individual mentioned that there were four gas stations within a mile of each other on that same strip.  Apparently, Pete Rapacioli has had no problem with his safety working at M&M’s, where Mark had helped him get a job as well.  According to Rapacioli, who called me in June of 2013 to protest my mention of his name on this blog, he was still working at M&M’s at that time, some ten years after my brother’s death.  (On Rapacioli himself, especially the alleged phone call with my brother’s wife for half an hour before the truck fire, see esp. posts of June 24 and December 26, 2013, and April 19, 2014).

Mark apparently worked at M&M’s from mid-afternoon into the evening Wednesday through Sunday.  If he felt some kind of danger, it would presumably have been at night, especially if the place was closing up.  As previously mentioned (see post of June 21, 2016), a comment made on another website, Cattaraugus County Corruption, indicates that my brother apparently had “taken action when he saw something wrong” and paid the price for it.  Of course, if that is the case, it is not at all clear what Mark might have seen and where he might have seen it.

However, it would certainly be useful to know the identity of the neighbor whom my brother was reportedly visiting the evening of September 23, 2003 (see post of August 11, 2014).  Mark might well have mentioned to that person what he was worried about at the time, ironically just before the truck fire that so brutally took his life.

Was that neighbor Todd Lindell?  Mark had been at his house and apparently remained there for most of the evening after his DWI, for which he had been arrested following an argument with Salamanca police officer Mark Marowski at a local club the very day before the truck fire.  In November 2003, Lindell told me that he in fact had had an “open door policy” for Mark at his house.  Unfortunately, he did not return my calls after that point.

Friday, November 25, 2016

More about Local Police on the Scene

This post concerns the issue of what local policemen were on the scene of my brother's truck fire in Great Valley, N. Y., on September 23, 2003.  Previous posts (December 31, 2011; November 15, 2015; and December 16, 2016) noted that several local police officers were reported to be on the scene.  However, only the presence of Gary Wind, then a Cattaraugus County deputy sheriff, is recorded in the report of the N. Y. State Police.  But he was there in his capacity as a firefighter, and his witness statement is part of the official report [see link on the upper right side of the blog for official documents].  

It was reported to me that Robert Buchhardt, then a senior deputy sheriff and currently undersheriff, was also on the scene.  Since Great Valley does not have its own police force, the sheriff's office would naturally have jurisdiction.  Was Deputy Sheriff Buchhardt there before the State Police arrived?  If Deputy Sheriff Buchardt was present and discussed the case with the N. Y. S. Police, there is no record of it in the State Police report on Mark's case.

It was also reported to me that then Salamanca police officer Steve Arrowsmith was on the scene, though it is not clear what he did there.  The presence of Salamanca police on the scene is a matter of some concern in light of not only Ofc. Mark Marowski's personal argument with my brother at a local club that led to Mark's arrest for DWI the very day before the fire but also Marowski's alleged affair with my brother's wife Susan. 

Three deputy sheriffs happen to have lived in that general neighborhood in the period of Mark's truck fire.  A couple of years ago, I spoke with Sidney Lindell, one of the three and the brother of Mark's close neighbor Alana Lindell Cloud, now deceased.  Mr. Lindell, now retired from the sheriff's office, stated that at the time of the truck fire, he lived farther up Hungry Hollow Rd. (which for a stretch runs parallel to Whalen Rd., where my brother lived) and that he did not find out about the fire until the next day.   

The other two deputy sheriffs, however, owned houses very close to Mark's, and yet neither is recorded in the police report as present on the scene.  According to a neighbor of Mark's, one of them, Shawn Gregory, was in fact on the scene.  Deputy Sheriff Gregory, the son-in-law of Alana Lindell Cloud, lived just a couple of houses from Mark's on Whalen Rd. (see post of November 15, 2015).   

No one with whom I've spoken over the years has known if the other, Drew Rozler, was on the scene or not.  But Deputy Sheriff  Rozler owned a house on Cross Rd. in the block adjacent to my brother's.  One would assume that both individuals should have been summoned to respond to a fatal truck fire of this nature.  In addition, if the claim made in the anonymous letter (see post of August 11, 2014) is indeed true that Marowski and my brother's wife were observed on numerous occasions riding around together on a four-wheeler, then these two deputy sheriffs who were also neighbors may well have seen that activity.

It was recently brought to my attention that Deputy Sheriff Drew Rozler, who reportedly had previously worked for the Salamanca Police Department, was a first responder in the deaths of both Tim Nye and Dale Tarapacki.  One individual added that Deputy Sheriff Rozler in fact discovered the body of Tim Nye in a very isolated location in Great Valley and wondered why he was there at all, much less at that particular time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Importance of the Phone Records

This post considers the importance of the phone records as a source of relevant information in the death not only of my brother Mark but also of Dale Tarapacki and Tim Nye, the other two men who also were killed under very suspicious circumstances in Great Valley, N. Y., in the same general period.

A previous post (December 27, 2012) pointed to three crucial reasons why the phone records (landline and cell) should have been examined by the New York State Police in their investigation into Mark’s death: the argument between my brother and Salamanca police officer Mark Marowski at a local club that led to Marowski getting my brother arrested for DWI the very day before the truck fire; the alleged phone call between my brother’s wife Susan and Pete Rapacioli for about half an hour immediately prior to the fire; and problems with the chronology of events given by Mark’s wife both in her witness statement and, according to reliable sources, shortly after the fire. 

Since that post, I obtained further information reinforcing the importance of the phone records.  Although one State Police official claimed that “it wasn’t much of an argument,” the State Police investigator admitted that he never interviewed the club members present about the quarrel.  However, more than one person from the Salamanca area said that it had involved Marowski’s anger over a pool my brother had won that day.  An individual who had an official role at the Holy Cross Club at that time later informed me that my brother and Mark Marowski had argued on numerous occasions specifically over pool tabs, adding that people would often win a fair amount of money when there were only a few left to be sold, with winning tabs still to be drawn. 

In addition, as mentioned in a previous post (August 11, 2014), Marowski—now deceased—was reportedly having an affair with my brother’s wife during that period.  In spite of the fact that no one has publicly admitted to witnessing the argument between my brother and Marowski (which took place in the afternoon of Monday, September 22, 2003), a reliable source informed me that Gary Subulski and Pete Rapacioli were regularly there on Monday afternoons to sign the book.  Furthermore, a woman who answered Rapacioli’s phone when I called in early November 2003 (at the suggestion of a friend of Mark’s) informed me that Pete had told her about the argument between my brother and Marowski (see post of June 21, 2016).  Yet Rapacioli himself later claimed to me that he had not been there and appeared to know nothing about that argument (see post of June 23, 2013).

It seems clear that the phone records associated with my brother and his wife, with Mark Marowski, and with Pete Rapacioli should have been checked.  But they never were, either during the investigation or afterward, in spite of requests to the New York State Police in 2005 by Atty. Michael Kelly and me that they be examined.

In the case of Dale Tarapacki, as mentioned in previous posts (see March 19 and May 19, 2016), it is difficult to accept the explanation in the fire investigator’s report for the rear drive shaft breaking and puncturing the fuel line and for Tarapacki’s supposed efforts to accelerate aggressively, causing the wheels to spin excessively and the wheel bearings to fly off.  Furthermore, reports of a gunshot wound in the area of his right leg make the ruling of accident seem even less probable.  In addition, the remote location where Tarapacki’s truck was found (off the upper, unpaved section of Hardscrabble Road in Great Valley) raises the question of what Tarapacki would have been doing there.  Did the investigators from the Sheriff’s office look into this? 

It is also difficult to understand why Tarapacki’s death certificate indicates that he was a pharmacist at Rite Aid.  In fact, according to several reliable sources, he had resigned from that job and accepted a position at a new Native American-owned pharmacy, also in Salamanca, reportedly for a much higher salary.  However, according to my sources, he had issues concerning that job and quit, reportedly after about a month.  Did the investigators consider why Tarapacki had abruptly left that job?

A reliable source expressed concern about how quickly the investigation into Tarapacki’s death concluded.  It would appear that the investigators did not check Tarapacki’s phone records.  The phone records certainly might have revealed if Tarapacki had been called by someone just prior to that very odd drive up Hardscrabble Road.

Finally, although much less information has been given to me about the case of Tim Nye (see posts of February 18, March 19, and April 19, 2016), one fact in particular should have motivated the investigators from the Sheriff’s office to obtain his phone records.  As reported in the post of April 19 and an addendum to it, after he left his residence following a phone call that appeared to cause him considerable anxiety, no one heard from Tim Nye for two days, and he strangely did not return phone calls during those two days. 

This would appear to be a case where the phone records were essential.  The investigators should certainly have wanted to know who had called him and to learn what that person’s conversation with Nye had been about.  But here as well, it appears that phone records were never checked.  A relative of his confirmed to me that Nye had been shot in the gut.  Yet, according to another source very close to Nye, his death was ruled a suicide.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Issue of Head Wounds

Thirteen years ago today, my brother Mark died from severe burns suffered the night of his truck fire in rural Great Valley, New York.  As the years have passed and more information has come to light, the cover-up of the foul play that took Mark’s life has made me seriously question our justice system.  Some of the information that has come to my attention most recently relates to troublesome similarities between the circumstances of my brother’s death and Dale Tarapacki’s (see esp. the posts of July 23 and August 24, 2016).  This post concerns head wounds as another factor linking the two deaths.

As reported in the initial post (September 22, 2010), Dr. Edward Piotrowski, Mark’s attending physician at the Erie County Medical Center, informed me in 2005 that when my brother arrived at the burn unit, he observed soft-tissue swelling on Mark’s forehead.  In order to determine if there was bleeding in his brain, Dr. Piotrowski ordered a CT scan.  The results of the scan concerned the doctor: although no bleeding was detected, there was deep, rather than superficial, soft-tissue swelling that made him think my brother might have been struck on the head.

When this information was relayed to the New York State Police investigators, they dismissed it, claiming that Mark had probably fallen and hit his head.  But, in addition, Dr. Piotrowski had revealed that Mark had also suffered soft-tissue swelling on the left side of his face and explained that my brother would have had to fall several times to get that level of soft-tissue damage.  The State Police never interviewed Dr. Piotrowski about these wounds or anything else he had observed in the burn unit related to my brother’s condition.

The State Police were also informed that firefighter Wayne Frank, who helped put the flames out on Mark, had noticed the wound on his forehead.  That wound was small but apparently well defined; by the time Mark arrived at the burn unit, it had obviously developed the swelling that so concerned Dr. Piotrowski.  To Wayne, it looked as if Mark had been hit on the head with a golf club.  Although the State Police said that they would interview Wayne, they apparently never did.  Gary Wind, a Deputy Sheriff and the first firefighter on the scene of the truck fire, later told me that he too had seen the wound on Mark’s forehead.  It is odd that the presence of the wound never made it into the official records on the truck fire.

Earlier posts (see esp. May 29 and September 22, 2012) discussed the facts indicating the following: my brother was beaten up after he pulled into his driveway and parked his truck; someone other than Mark backed his truck into the field across from his house; gasoline was poured in the front seat area of his pick-up truck; Mark himself was also doused with gasoline and set on fire.

It has been a matter of concern that the fire investigator’s report does not mention a pistol among the items found in the truck or on the scene.  According to a friend of his, my brother had bought a pistol because he had concerns for his safety at his job at M&M’s, a Native American cigarette store and gas station, where Mark had recently become a security guard.  Since the location is close to an off ramp of I-86 at Steamburg, N.Y., it is not clear why he felt anxious about his safety there.  At any rate, Mark reportedly kept the gun in the glove compartment of his truck. So what happened to it? Could it have been used to hit him on the forehead, and was it then taken away by his assailant (or, more likely, assailants)?

Dale Tarapacki’s death certificate does not mention impact wounds but rather states the cause of death as “acute alprazolam intoxication complicated by inhalation of products of combustion and thermal injury” (see post of May 19, 2016).  According to reliable sources, Tarapacki, who not long before his death had resigned his job as a pharmacist at the Rite-Aid in Salamanca to work for a new Native-American pharmacy there, had expressed concerns about his own safety.  As discussed in recent posts (May 19, July 23, and August 24, 2016), Tarapacki died in a truck fire under very suspicious circumstances just as Mark had.

It was previously mentioned that Tarapacki reportedly had a gunshot wound in the area of his right leg (see July 23, 2016).  Furthermore, a reliable source recently informed me that, according to a police official at the time of his death, Tarapacki had also suffered a serious head injury (apparently a cracked skull).  As reliable sources have also mentioned, the remains of two rifles were found in the rear of the cab of Tarapacki’s burned-out truck.  Had one of them also been used to strike him on the head and render him unconscious?

The similarities between my brother’s death and Tarapacki’s seem too numerous to be coincidental, especially for what authorities claimed in each case was an “accident.”