252 Caledonia Street, Lockport NY
LOCKPORT, NY - It has been more than 7 years since a Lockport woman vanished without a trace. Sheryl Rucci was 33 when last seen in August of 2005.
However, it was only recently, that police were able to search a place, which they long sought to comb for clues in connection with her disappearance.
Rucci was last seen at her Lincoln Place apartment, which she shared with her then 8-year-old daughter.
The pair had moved there after Rucci left the home of her long time boyfriend Roger Hueber, who was also the girl's father.
At the time, Rucci was under indictment for sex crimes involving underage girls, for which he eventually plead guilty and went to prison for four years.
Police had long sought to search the house at 252 Caledonia Street in Lockport, but without probable cause they could not get a warrant, and needed the owner's permission, according to Niagara County Sheriff's Investigator John Wick.
"Mr. Hueber, the previous owner, had not been cooperative with the investigation," Wicks told WGRZ-TV.
However, it recently came to Wick's attention that the house had been seized for back taxes.
With the City of Lockport now the official owner, the obstacle in gaining permission to search it had suddenly been removed.
On October 3rd, a forensic team accompanied by a cadaver dog went through the house.
But, when asked if the team found anything of real value to aid them in their search for Rucci, Wick replied, "At this point, I would say no."
The news was somewhat frustrating for Rick Rucci, Sheryl's brother, who worked side by side with Hueber, as both had been employed as corrections officers at the Niagara County Jail (where Rucci still works today).
"I just hope she does come up and she is somewhere and she eventually reunites with our family," Rucci said.
Wick's instincts as a veteran police investigator, however, do not leave him with much optimism.
"I think there's foul play involved. I hope every day, as Rick does, that I find her alive...but from an investigations standpoint, I do not believe that to be the case," Wick said.
It is also true that if police ever do locate Rucci, one of the first they will do is arrest her.
Following her disappearance, she also was indicted on a charge of Criminal Sexual Act in the 2nd Degree, and authorities believe she was a participant, along with Hueber, in illegal sex acts involving underage participants.
"She was part of what was going on with those incidents...and today there are still warrants for Sheryl regarding those incidents," Wick confirmed.
As a member of law enforcement, the allegations are troubling to her brother in particular.
"Our family became aware of it, of course, after the fact. And who wants to choke that down after your sister's gone missing?" Rick Rucci said.
But he also accepts that if his sister is found alive, she will have to face the justice system.
"The only positive thing that would come out of that is that at least we would know every night where she's at," Rucci said.
Because, after more than seven years, it is something the Rucci family still does not know.
"If anyone has any information I just hope they come forward. In either case, it's important to our family...and closure is important to us as well," Rucci said.
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