Son Pleads Not Guilty in Death of Elderly West Seneca Mom

12:11 AM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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WEST SENECA, NY - West Seneca Police say they have arrested the son of a woman who was killed over the weekend.

Investigators say Primitivo Cruz walked into West Seneca Police headquarters just after noon and turned himself in.  He is charged with second degree murder. 

Cruz pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday night.  His attorney says Cruz is innocent. 

Carol Quinn, 77, was found dead on the floor of her apartment at Burch Avenue amid what police will only describe as suspicious circumstances.

Police made the discovery at approximately 3pm Saturday, after responding to a call from Quinn's out of state relatives, who were concerned for her welfare after they had been unable to reach her for a couple of days.

Police hope an autopsy will help them determine the time line between the discovery of Quinn's body and when she actually may have died.

"Mr. Cruz did live with his mother from time to time, he was kind of a drifter, so we believe he had been staying with her over the past month," said West Seneca Chief of Police Daniel Denz.

Denz also noted that Cruz was at the scene shortly after they arrived on Saturday and began their investigation.

"He meandered up the street...he was briefly interviewed by the officers there and released. Through more police investigation, specific details have come to light, and we are seeking Mr. Cruz for additional information," said Denz, who added that locating Cruz is somewhat difficult because he has no permanent address.

Denz also confirmed for Two On Your Side that Cruz had recently been removed by police from his mother's home, due to a domestic incident.

"He was at her home approximately one week ago and arrested and removed from that scene. I know there was some sort of argument between the two of them. While it was minor in nature, our department proceeded seriously enough that we did make an arrest and an order of protection was issued for Mrs. Quinn," Denz said.

Denz said he could not recall the specific date of when the order of protection was issued, and the West Seneca Town Court Clerk's office did not respond to our requests for information regarding the order of protection.

As police continued to remove potential evidence from the crime scene on Monday, Denz also explained, why, if there was an order of protection, Cruz was not arrested when police encountered him near his mother's home Saturday.

"He was not in the apartment when we arrived, so there was no order of protection that we could hold him on or make an arrest," said Denz.

Some of Quinn's family members were at West Seneca police headquarters Monday morning.

"This is just horrible for them," said Brian Russer, who is dating Quinn's granddaughter. Russer confirmed that Quinn was a retired teacher's aide with the buffalo public Schools, and said she had three other children besides Cruz. "She was a phenomenal woman...everyone in her neighborhood knew her and loved her," Russer said.

"I'm shocked," said Alan Andress, who lives five doors down from the apartment building where Quinn lived.

"I would see her sitting outside on nice days...I used to go by on my motorcycle and she would wave," Andress told WGRZ-TV.

From what I had seen of her, I don't think she could hurt a fly why. Why would anyone even want to do that?" he wondered.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2


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