Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Brought the Two Victims to the Place of Their Truck Fires?

A recent post (December 31, 2017) raised the question of the identity of the last person to see both my brother Mark and Dale Tarapacki before their respective truck fires.  This post takes up a related issue: why were my brother and Tarapacki at the particular place where their trucks so suspiciously went up in flames?

My brother’s truck was observed burning in the field across from his house about 11 p.m.  The pool of his blood found in his parking area just off the middle of his driveway, along with wounds observed on his head (see post of September 24, 2016), strongly suggests that the trouble began right there shortly after he pulled up with his truck not long before 11.

As recorded in the New York State Police report, however, the chronology of events that evening is perplexing.  As the post of December 2017 indicates, Mark’s wife Susan says in her witness statement that he was home during the day and left for downtown Salamanca about 8:45.  Yet it is difficult to understand why no one apparently saw him at any of his usual hangouts in Salamanca that evening or why several people either failed to hear from my brother by phone, as expected, or attempted unsuccessfully to reach him earlier in the day (see post of August 22, 2012).  It is also unclear if Mark was about to go into his house after parking his truck, given statements by an eyewitness about Susan’s reaction to his DWI the previous afternoon, including telling him to “pack [his] bags and get the hell out” (see posts of August 22, 2012, and March 3, 2014).

An anonymous letter sent to me states that right before the fire my brother was at the house of a neighbor, who indicated that Mark could not possibly have had the kind of high blood alcohol level reported by the authorities (see post of August 11, 2014).  As indicated in previous posts, the identity of that neighbor has not been revealed to me (see August 14, 2015, and December 31, 2017).  Moreover, an important question still remains: why was Mark in the parking area of his driveway at that time?  Did someone call him when he was at the neighbor’s house, or shortly afterwards, to ask to meet Mark at his home?  If so, as he got out of his truck, my brother would certainly have been left vulnerable to an attack by an individual or individuals with malicious intentions.

As mentioned in the post of December 2017, in the case of Dale Tarapacki a reliable source informed me that, according to the Sheriff’s office, he had been going fishing the afternoon of his truck fire.  Another previous post (June 13, 2017), however, explains that Tarapacki was in no shape to go for a fishing trip that day.  As also indicated in that post, it is unclear if the investigating authorities looked into the credibility of the claim about a fishing trip and the reliability of the witness who made it.  Moreover, the location of the truck fire itself works against the likelihood of a fishing expedition.  The upper section of Hardscrabble Road where Tarapacki’s truck was found, which is unpaved, does not lead to any fishing areas, has no intersecting roads to turn onto, and soon dead-ends.  Those facts make it very unclear what Tarapacki would have been doing on upper Hardscrabble Road the afternoon of his truck fire.  Had he received a call from someone asking him to meet there?  If so, he was left in a very precarious position indeed on that isolated stretch of road.

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