Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Follow-up on a FOIL Request for Records on the Death of Tim Nye

A previous post (February 18, 2016) reported on the very inadequate response by Cattaraugus County to my FOIL request for records on the death of Tim Nye.  Mr. Nye was one of two individuals whose deaths, as I was informed by numerous individuals, occurred under suspicious circumstances in Great Valley, New York, within a year or so of my brother’s truck fire.  The other was a young pharmacist named Dale Tarapacki, whose body was found in his burned-out truck (on my FOIL request for the records on his death, see the post of March 19, 2016).

In violation of both the spirit and the letter of the New York State FOIA law whose purpose is “to promote open government and accountability,” Cattaraugus County initially refused to provide any records, including the police investigation report, even in a redacted form, and on appeal sent two scant pages, consisting of the “Incident Maintenance” sheet and the very brief report by the officer who discovered Nye’s body with a shotgun lying close by.  Merely reiterating the unacceptable claim that the requested documents were “intra-agency materials of the Sheriff’s Office,” Records Appeals Officer John Searles again denied me access to the police investigation report, even in redacted form.

Although I did not obtain the documents that my FOIL request should have provided, I have learned more information about Tim Nye’s death through other means.  I happened to speak with a relative of Tim Nye who provided some troubling information related to his death.  This individual informed me that on the day of his death, Tim received a phone call at dinner time and, appearing very anxious, said that he had to go out.  Tim Nye never returned home.  [Posted on April 27, 2016--The following adjustment has been made at the request of someone who claims to be a reliable source: After he left following the phone call, no one heard from Tim for two days, and he did not return phone calls during those two days, which was not like him.]

According to Tim’s relative, he had been shot in the gut, confirming what an EMT who knew Tim also told me.  Apparently, Tim had been heavily in debt.  His relative also informed me that at the time of his death Tim no longer lived on Hungry Hollow Road, as he had broken up with a girlfriend who owned a house there.  One must wonder, then, why Tim Nye was found shot to death on rural McCarthy Hill Road in Great Valley, as indicated in the report filed by the officer who found his body with a shotgun lying at his feet.  Tim’s relative stressed that his death was no suicide.

Because I was given no access to the police investigation report, I cannot say for sure what the official ruling was.  But according to virtually everyone who has mentioned Tim Nye’s death to me, the authorities ruled it a suicide.  However, the presumably reliable information relayed to me by Tim’s relative does not at all suggest a suicide.

How thorough was the investigation into Tim Nye’s death?  Was murder even considered?  There would appear to have been a rush to judgment by the investigating authorities similar to that which occurred in the case of my brother Mark’s suspicious death.  In my brother’s case, the authorities clearly did not want to expose any possible involvement by then Salamanca police officer Mark Marowski, who had got into a personal argument with my brother at a local club the day before his truck fire and then called in to the Salamanca police to have him arrested for DWI and who had allegedly been having an affair with my brother’s wife (see esp. posts of August 11, September 14, October 17, November 16, and December 14, 2014, and January 16 and February 17, 2015).  Did the police have something to cover up yet again in this case?