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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > January 11, 2005

FAMILY OFFERS REWARD FOR CONVICTION

Mystery of death haunts relatives

January 12, 2005

By Mike Dawson
Times Herald-Record
mdawson@th-record.com

Warwick JM (name removed at request of family) sat hunched over on her couch yesterday, crying into a soggy tissue.

"All I want to do is crawl," she said. She cried and convulsed in silence for a few minutes then continued. "I just want to crawl into a hole."

It's been six weeks since her husband of 24 years, T, was shot once in the back while deer hunting. Six weeks of unanswered questions. Six weeks of having her mourning held hostage by a grim mystery.

New York state police say the case is still under investigation, that the death is suspicious, that some ballistic evidence is being scrutinized.

But the police and family still don't know why or who shot 48-year-old M.

It could have been an accident. It could have been a murder.

On Nov. 23, M, a school bus driver for Our Lady on the Hill day-care center in Goshen, went missing while hunting in the hilly woods near his home on Birdsall Road. He was found the next morning shot to death a few hundred yards from his ATV.

That's all the M family knows of his death.

But it still hasn't stopped the theories. At local bars and delis, family members have had to endure strangers spreading rumors about his death. None of it adds up.

"It's hard to overhear that stuff," said AVK, one of M's nephews. "I have to speak up and say 'Hey, that's my uncle you're talking about.'"

Frustrated by the rumors and the lack of progress in the case, the M family has begun posting signs at shops and launderettes featuring a photo of M and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

"It seems that's about all we can do right now," said VM, T's mother. "We just have to wait."

Meanwhile, 43-year-old JM has trouble sleeping because she can't curl up next to her husband. She's afraid that if it was murder, the killer could come looking for her. A day doesn't pass without an emotional breakdown.

"I just want to know who did this," M said. "They have no idea what they've taken from me and what a hole this is in my life."

Anyone with information about M's death is asked to call state police at 782 8311

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