07 January 2020
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Major Darrin S. Pitkin
Troop B Commander
Cold Case Tuesday – State Police in Plattsburgh continue to investigate a 21-year-old homicide in Peru, NY
On September 15, 1997, at 1:27 p.m., State Police in Plattsburgh received a request to check on the welfare of 88-year-old Walter C. Fedorwich, who resided at 3634 State Route 22, in Peru, NY, as he had not been seen by neighbors in a few days. When State Police responded, Fedorwich was located inside his residence, deceased, tied to a bed located in the front room.
On September 16, 1997, an autopsy was performed at the Albany Medical Center and the cause of death was determined to be traumatic asphyxia and blunt force injuries of the head and brain. The Clinton County Coroner ruled the death to be homicide. It was determined the death occurred in the late evening of September 12 or the early morning hours of September 13, 1997.
Mr. Fedorwich was a retired construction worker that lived alone in a poorly maintained residence on State Route 22 in Peru. He was no longer able to drive a motor vehicle, so he would hitchhike or use a taxi to get to places in the surrounding areas. He was often seen around the area with his trademark cowboy hat and boots.
Mr. Fedorwich had relatives in the Rochester, NY area, and had traveled to that area in the time preceding his death. During that trip, he had spoken of carrying a large sum of money, and may have had a portion of that money stolen.
Although not diagnosed, Fedorwich appeared to suffer from bouts of dementia, and he would flash large sums of money to strangers stating that he did not believe in banks and had more money at home if he needed it. The cash that he possessed always reeked of kerosene.
Mr. Fedorwich’s large sum of money was not located over the course of the homicide investigation.
One of the last reported sightings of Mr. Fedorwich occurred in the days prior to his death, Mr. Fedorwich was observed at the end of his driveway speaking to two white males, who have not been identified. One of the males was described as having a beard and dressed in biker type apparel. The other male was described as being heavy set, also dressed in biker type apparel. The two men appeared to have been operating a dark colored vehicle. Fedorwich was last seen alive on the afternoon of September 13, 1997.
A black dog hair was also found on the person of Fedorwich. He did not have a dog and it is possible the hair was transferred from the suspect’s clothing.
Anyone with information about Mr. Fedorwich should contact the Troop B Major Crimes Unit at (518)873-2750.
Photos of Fedorwich’s residence