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36 years later, law enforcers still look for closure in 1972 murder of Joanne Pecheone

By By SUSAN CAMPBELL

UTICA - The murder of Joanne Pecheone back in January of 1972 stunned the community. For years Pecheone's father held on to the hope that his daughter's killer or killers would be brought to justice.

Though he recently passed away without that closure, people working on the case say they remain optimistic that justice will be served.

Though Joanne Pecheone was killed 36 years ago. Her picture is still hanging on the wall of the Oneida County District Attorney's office. A And her file - thousands of pages long - still sits in the middle of the floor there. Constant reminders that a family and the people closest to the investigation are still looking for closure.

"Joanne's case is the number one case in our cold case squad," said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara. "We work on it all the time."

It's a case that has haunted the area since that January day back in 1972.

"She was just an innocent person walking home from school one day," McNamara said.

And then the unthinkable happened. A killer or killers brutally raped and murdered the teen in the woods off of South Park Drive.

With no solid leads, the Pecheone murder case sat untouched for years. But then in 2002, it was re-opened. The hope was that new technology would lead investigators to the person or persons responsible.

"We have made steps forward," McNamara said. "We're not at the same spot we were a long time ago. Having said that, we still don't have anybody in handcuffs."

Nobody in handcuffs, and still no real suspects, according to the Oneida County D.A. Scott McNamara.

Even so, the investigation continues throughout the northeast.

"We share information, and we try to compare other cases, compare other crimes...see if there are any similarities," McNamara said. "We just keep looking at all those things."

McNamara says when his office learned of Mr. Pecheone's passing, his entire staff breathed a collective sigh of regret that they weren't able to bring Mr. Pecheone any definitive answers.

"We're just deeply saddened at this point that we could not bring justice and closure to Mr. Pecheone in his lifetime," McNamara said. "We want to bring Joanne's family closure someday, and we want to bring them justice. They've waited a long, long, long time for it."

Believe it or not, the D.A. says tips still do come into his office every so often, and McNamara says they'll continue to follow up on leads until this cold case becomes a closed case.

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