Officials with the Greece Police Department and Monroe County's District Attorney's Office are relieved to announce an arrest in the 21-year-old murder case of Stephanie Kupchynsky. Edward Laraby, 59, was indicted on two counts of second degree murder, including first degree sodomy. His trial date is set for February of 2013. According to police in Greece, Laraby confessed to the crime, but only to be granted his dying wish.
Investigators say it was a frustrating case from the beginning.
"For 20 years, the town and the family has looked for a resolution. It took seven years before we even knew it was a homicide,” said Dave Connors.
Connors, a retired Greece Police Sergeant, remembers being assigned to the murder case of Stephanie Kupchynsky in 1991. The 27-year-old music teacher disappeared from her Greece apartment July 31st of that year. Her car was found abandoned at the Rochester Airport. Seven years later, her remains were found in a creek bed in Murray, Orleans County, by some kids out fishing.
"Until ’98, we couldn't even say it was a death, much less just a missing person, so it was a very difficult case. A lot of folks worked very hard on it,” Connors said.
Two and a half years ago, two Greece detectives were assigned to the case. Monday afternoon, the District Attorney's Office announced the department's hard work finally paid off when Laraby told detectives about his involvement in the crime.
"I believed it was enough to present to a grand jury to for them to decide whether or not to charge murder,” said Sandra Doorley, District Attorney.
"They worked tirelessly, sometimes against, many, many odds that they would eventually get a statement that led to this indictment,” said Chief Todd Baxter of the Greece Police Department.
Baxter calls Laraby's statement a confession to the murder, but according to Laraby's attorney, Bob Napier, that statement was more of an agreement.
"Mr Laraby has spent more than half his life in state custody. His strongest desire is that his bodily remains be interred outside the state prison system,” said Napier.
Napier says Laraby is currently serving two life sentences at the Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County for sexual abuse and the attempted murder of a prison guard. Napier says the 59-year-old is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease and has been in the facility's hospice unit for the past three weeks.
Napier says Laraby agreed to talk only if he will be buried outside of prison grounds and within Monroe County.
"There's a real focus on his own mortality and I think a desire to do what he can to get to a better place,” Napier said.
Still, this announcement brings closure Kupchynsky's parents never received. Authorities say both have since passed away. Her boyfriend at the time did not want to comment on the indictment, only saying the facts speak for themselves.
“Certainly, it is very satisfying, for that there is some kind of closure for the family and PD,” Connors said. “But I’ve got to say there's no joy in it. It's still a very sad situation."