This post revisits the issue of my brother Mark’s whereabouts the day of his truck fire, considering specifically individuals who mentioned their failure reach him by phone or to see him that day. The only formally documented information about Mark’s whereabouts the day of the truck fire is recorded in his wife Susan’s witness statement (see the link at the top right for “police report”). There, Susan says that Mark was at home in the afternoon “slightly intoxicated,” that they had been watching television in the early evening, and that he left the house about 8:45 p.m. to go to “downtown Salamanca.”
Alexis Wright informed me that her husband Jim, a friend of my brother’s, could not reach Mark when he called that day but added that when they drove by about 5:30 p.m., they noticed his truck parked by the house (presumably in the usual area off the middle of the long driveway). However, they did not see Mark himself or go to the house (see posts of August 22, 2012, and March 3, 2014, for Susan’s response to Mark when Alexis and Jim Wright drove him home from his DWI arrest the day before).
Mark’s friend Jim Poole informed me that my brother had returned a call from him the previous evening (the day of his DWI), leaving a message that he would explain why he hadn’t come over to help him paint that day, but he said that Mark never got back to him. Jim explained that he then called my brother’s house the next day (the day of the fire) to speak with Mark directly, but again got no answer.
It is unclear why there was no answer when both Jim Wright and Jim Poole called Mark’s house that day. It would certainly be very unusual for my brother not to answer the phone when he was home (see also post of March 3, 2014, on comments that Mark had been locked out of the house on several occasions).
Mark’s acquaintance Pete Rapacioli told me just weeks after Mark’s death that he had called, but failed to reach, Mark early on the day of the fire. He indicated that he had been expecting to get Mark’s results from a football pool in order to determine the winner. However, in a phone call to me in June 2013 to protest about being mentioned on this blog, he insisted that he had tried numerous times “throughout the day” to speak with Mark by phone but could not reach him. Which was it: once or numerous times?
Furthermore, in that call to me in 2013, Rapacioli also stated that no one had seen Mark the entire day of the truck fire. Yet he also said that he had been on the phone with my brother’s wife Susan, having a conversation that, according to her witness statement, lasted from about 10:30 to 11 p.m. It seems very odd that Susan would not have mentioned that Mark had been at home with her for much of the afternoon and early evening, especially given Rapacioli’s stated insistence that he had tried to reach my brother so many times that day but could not reach him.
As mentioned previously on this blog (see esp. posts of December 27, 2012; May 13, 2013; and April 30, 2019), that alleged phone call between Mark’s wife and Pete Rapacioli was never verified by the N.Y. State Police investigators. When later requested to check the phone records for that alleged call by Atty. Michael Kelly, Senior Investigator John Wolfe refused to do it. As Kelly observed, given the circumstances of Mark’s death, that was basic police procedure and should have been done. What possible motive could the State Police investigators have had for not checking those records?