By Kathy Daley
MONTICELLO Police apparently have closed in on some key evidence in the murder of Hankins native Elizabeth Mucci and are poised to make an announcement within the next few weeks.
Neither Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell nor State Police Investigator Michael Orrego would comment on a report that police have found part of Mucci’s body in a Sullivan County Lake.
“It’s still under investigation,” said Farrell yesterday.
Police have searched for Mucci’s remains since the woman’s live-in companion, Lars Ryder, 22, allegedly confessed to her murder.
Ryder was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mucci, 31. He is being held without bail in Sullivan County Jail.
Farrell said the case is expected to proceed to a grand jury for indictment later this month.
“The grand jury will determine if there is legally sufficient evidence to warrant a charge,” Farrell said.
Referring to the second-degree murder charge, Farrell said, “I suspect the grand jury will consider that charge and possibly others.”
Police say Ryder killed Mucci on April 27. State police began working on the investigation after receiving a May 10 phone call from a close friend who had not seen or heard from the missing woman in two weeks.
When detectives questioned Ryder at the Kiamesha Lake apartment he shared with Mucci, “he gave us information that led us to believe he killed her,” said Orrego.
Mucci and Ryder had lived at 2 Fraser Rd. in Kiamesha Lake for about two months. Before that, Mucci lived in Hankins, where she owned and rented out several trailers.
Mucci’s friends and acquaintances are hoping for a resolution to the case.
“Elizabeth and I grew up together all of our lives,” said Tanya Dirie of Hortonville. “When I lived in Hankins, she lived right around the corner with her grandmother and grandfather, who were very good to her. My heart just sank when I heard the news of her death.”
Dirie said over the years, she had lost close contact with Mucci. “I moved to Hortonville, married and had children. I wish we had stayed in touch so she would have had somebody to talk to. She did not deserve any of this.”
Catherine Scott of Callicoon remembers Elizabeth as a little girl riding the bus to Delaware Valley School.
“I grew up in Fremont Center, and I remember her grandmother always waiting for her at the edge of the driveway,” she said.
“She was one of our own a DV graduate,” said Scott. “I hope they can find her and put her to rest.”