May 28, 2008
C’ville death ruled a homicide
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
From left, Cortland County District Attorney David Hartnett, Cortland County Sheriff’s Department Captain Glenn Mauzy and State Police Lt. James Land take questions this morning concerning the homicide of Cortlandville woman Wendy Thibeault.
CORTLAND — Police have ruled the Monday night death of a Cortlandville woman a homicide after an autopsy Tuesday.
Police said at a news conference this morning that Wendy D. Thibeault, 47, of 2011 Tower Road, was strangled and found dead around 7:40 p.m. in her home.
The autopsy, which was done at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, determined the cause of death was asphyxiation.
Capt. Glenn Mauzy, of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department, said there is no estimate on a time of death and he would not comment on other injuries Thibeault sustained, if any. He would not say what was used to strangle Thibeault.
Mauzy said the Sheriff’s Department and State Police are working together, pursuing all leads. The Sheriff’s Department has set up a tip hotline for anyone with information about the death of Thibeault at (607) 756-3490.
“No arrests have been made and everyone is considered a person of interest,” Mauzy said.
Mauzy added that police have interviewed numerous people, but would not specify who has been questioned.
Local attorney Patrick Perfetti was present for the news conference this morning.
Perfetti is representing Thibeault’s estranged husband Charles “Randy” Thibeault Sr., 59, in divorce proceedings filed on May 1 by Wendy Thibeault and felony and misdemeanor charges from a domestic incident with his deceased wife in April.
Perfetti said Randy Thibeault was asked to go to the Sheriff’s Department a little after 10 p.m. Monday.
“He called me and I invoked his right to silence,” Perfetti said, adding that his client was released Tuesday at about 3:45 p.m. without being questioned.
“I’m the one that told him of the death of his wife,” Perfetti said. “I met Sgt. Troy Boice (with the Sheriff’s Department) at the scene and he informed me that he had not advised Mr. Thibeault as to why he was being asked to come to the Sheriff’s Department.”
Perfetti said Thibeault is not staying at the family home on Tower Road, but would not disclose where he is.
Randy and Wendy Thibeault have one son, Charles R. Thibeault Jr., 17.
Perfetti said he was told by Investigator Jeff Hall, with the State Police, that Charles R. Thibeault Jr. has been cooperating with the police and added that he does not know where the son is.
“I know he has been talking with police,” Perfetti said.
Perfetti said his client, Randy Thibeault is innocent in the death of his wife.
Perfetti said it seems police are targeting their investigation on Wendy Thibeault’s husband possibly because of the domestic incident that took place in April.
“My great concern in this situation is that there is so much attention being put on the spouse that the investigation is not expanding to fuller speculations,” Perfetti said.
Randy Thibeault was arrested April 14 on charges of first-degree unlawful imprisonment, a felony, and second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree menacing, misdemeanors, and second-degree harassment, a violation.
Wendy Thibeault told police that during a dispute in the yard of their home about 10 p.m. April 14, her husband shoved her and choked her until she lost consciousness.
Randy Thibeault refused to comment to police at the scene, according to court documents.
She also told police that her husband began to be violent in the beginning of April after she had requested a separation in January.
When asked if there had been any violence in the past between the two, Wendy Thibeault answered to police, “a couple weeks ago, but it all stems from the separation and I did not report it.”
A plea offer to the felony and misdemeanor charges was offered to Perfetti on May 19 at the Cortlandville Town Court, dismissing all charges except second-degree reckless endangerment. Perfetti said Charles Thibeault Sr. was not in court that day because he had to work and set up a meeting with him for this week to talk about the plea offer.
However, on Tuesday, Cortland County District Attorney David Hartnett withdrew the offer to settle the charges.
Hartnett said this morning that he would not comment as to why his office withdrew the plea, which also included three years of probation an order of protection to be in place for one year and evaluations.
A temporary order of protection for Wendy Thibeault against her husband was originally issued by the Homer Town Court when her husband was arrested in April. He was arraigned in the Homer Town Court. That order expired on April 21; however, on May 19, the Cortlandville Town Court issued an order of protection, which was good until Sept. 14, according to court documents.
Charles Thibeault Sr. is scheduled to appear Monday in the Cortlandville Town Court for the domestic dispute charges.
Perfetti said he has not done his own investigation yet as to the whereabouts of Randy Thibeault on Monday, the day his wife was found dead by neighbors in her home.
Thibeault had been a full-time employee at Greek Peak Ski Resort for two years, in charge of all school programs and assisted in other sales programs, said Wesley Kryger, general manager at Greek Peak.
Prior to that, Kryger said Thibeault had been a seasonal part-time employee for many years.
“She was a great employee, a very integral part in the company,” he said. “Everybody knew her. She was very friendly with all the staff.”
Kryger said he was notified of Thibeault’s death Tuesday morning from the president of the company.
“We were aware of some domestic issues, but other than that, I don’t know an awful lot,” Kryger said. “It’s definitely a shock. It’s going to be difficult for the staff to deal with.”
He added that the company is looking to have counseling available to the staff.
Along with her job at Greek Peak, Thibeault was active in community organizations, including the McGraw United Methodist Church and the annual Central New York Maple Festival, where she worked in public relations for about eight years.
Rev. Jack Ford, a pastor at the McGraw United Methodist Church said Thibeault was one of more than 50 close-knit parishioners.
“The church is just devastated by the news,” Ford said, adding that he heard about Thibeault’s death Monday evening. “This affects a lot of people here in McGraw.”
Ford said he had been fielding quite a few calls Tuesday morning concerning Thibeault’s death. “It’s like one big family,” he said of the church’s congregation.
Thibeault had been the coordinator for the McGraw food pantry, which is run from the church and open once a month. Thibeault had applied for grants and received money and donations to get the food pantry up and running about two years ago.
“Because of her, between 30 and 40 families had food to put on their tables each month,” Ford said. “She was a very big part in getting (the food pantry) up and running.
Ford said there are discussions in the works concerning how the food pantry will run, who will run it and who will continue to write grant applications.
“We may have to get someone from within the church,” Ford said. “We’ll do our best to keep it going.”
Ford said he could not comment on whether he knew of any troubles Thibeault had been having at home.
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