ITHACA, N.Y. — Crime and breaking news stories have once again captured Ithaca Voice readers’ attention as the most read section of our website in 2017.
Some of it has been fun, like a near-record setting blizzard and a kangaroo on the loose in Trumansburg. But most of it has been heartbreaking.
It’s the kind of news we hate to recap, but it’s news that is important to remember as talks of safety, policing, and alternatives to incarceration continue to be relevant in our community.
Here are the 10 most read crime and breaking news stories of 2017:
This story initially ran back in 2015, but a new controversial docu-series from Investigation Discovery reignited public interest in a series of horrible crimes that happened in Dryden from 1989 to 1999. Called “The Village of the Damned,” makers of the series say they were merely trying to capture the spirit of a community that endured such hardship in the past. People who lived through the trauma, however, told The Ithaca Voice that they were harassed by film makers, with one person saying they were followed to a cemetery while they visited loved ones who’ve died. The national series is no doubt why this has been our most read story of the year. But we hope people will take the time to read about what the town has done to honor those who’ve died ad stand strong as a community.
Hours after Josie Berrios was found dead June 13 at 209/215 Dryden Road, police arrested Michael A. Davis, 45, of Dryden, and charged him with felonies for murder and arson.
Berrios’ death caused an outrage and grief in Ithaca due to her status a prominent transgender performer in the community. Officials have said, however, that the homicide was not a hate crime and Davis and Berrios knew each other well.
Davis is in custody at the Tompkins County Jail and awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
During a July downpour, dozens of vehicles at The Shops at Ithaca Mall in Lansing were flooded with water as a storm moved through the area. Photos at the time showed nearby stores also being flooded. Some people showed up at the parking lot with pool floats and took a dip.
This was not good news for most people, but it was the kind of thing most people couldn’t stop looking
Luckily, no injuries were reported due to the flooding.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Patrick R. Mutter, 35, of Brewerton, was killed when he and two other people broke into an apartment on Jan. 7 at 37 West Main Street in Trumansburg.
Court record revealed that Mutter, Gregory S. Fish, and Jennifer L. Ecker broke into the home looking for a man they say stole money from Ecker. In the ensuing argument, a resident at the home who did not know the trio stabbed Mutter in what police said was self-defense. The resident was not charged with any crimes.
Fish pleaded guilty to felony third-degree burglary in March and was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation.
Thirty one people were arrested as part of a 217-count indictment for trafficking large quantities of heroin throughout the region.
“Operation Unwise” was executed by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police, along with local agencies.
Among the arrests was Zachary Kelly, who was accused of selling Fentanyl-laced heroin to Ithaca woman Stephanie Dvorak, who died of an overdose.
Ithaca man Yakez Cornett opened fire in the Ithaca Commons around 1:15 a.m. on April 9, shooting a man five times after they got into an argument. Two stray bullets were found lodged in a nearby planter, dangerously close to where dozens of people were streaming out of nearby bars.
Cornett was taken into custody within about 10 minutes after an officer saw him on the west side of the Commons trying to blend in with the crowd. Officials said they found him with a .380 gun and 17 more bullets in a plastic bag.
Cornett pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sentenced in October to 12 years in prison.
Cornell University student Aalaap Narasipura went missing for several days this spring before being found dead in a gorge near Ithaca Falls.
Cornell University said in a statement:
A senior electrical engineering student in the College of Engineering, Aalaap was an ambitious student and was scheduled to graduate early this December. He was active on the Ultimate Frisbee team, enjoyed taking photos, and planned to continue at Cornell to pursue a Masters of Engineering degree. 8) Winter storm closings and delays in Tompkins County
Winter Storm Stella hit the area hard on March 14. Despite hazardous road conditions and a slew of closures and cancellations, Ithacans found some creative ways to get around town and make the most of the blizzard.
While our updates of closures was the most popular story during that time, we hope people take the time to remember how awesome it was to see people skiing down Aurora Street.
A kangaroo, presumably escaped from the Trumansburg Fair, caused a commotion on Route 96 back in August. People tried to catch it before it could dart off into a nearby wooded area.
“Basically, the guy had to wrestle to get it …I mean those legs are really strong,” said Darlynne Overbaugh, owner of Life’s So Sweet Chocolate in Ithaca’s Press Bay Alley, who took the photo that went viral.
Wherever the kangaroo is now, we just hope it’s safe and happy.
Two people were shot at the 200 block of North Meadow Street on June 22. Luckily, nobody was killed during the shooting.
Multiple gunshots were fired at Chuck’s Mobile Mart at 540 W. State Street, and one of the men shot ran to the the Fastrac Markets at 214 N. Meadow Street where he collapsed.
Nobody was every arrested in connection with the shooting.