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Amanda Wienckowski Case: Additional Evidence Presented

5:39 AM, May 4, 2010   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY- Two different autopsies are only adding to the mystery surrounding how a young woman from Western New York died. Family members are the ones caught in the middle as they maintain Amanda Wienckowski was murdered.

"I believe Amanda struggled for her life and that someone gave her the GHB found in her system," said Leslie Brill Fink, Amanda's mother, in 2009.

That was the family's belief from the very beginning when on January 9, 2009 Amanda Wienckowski, 20, was found naked, stuffed into a garbage tote on Buffalo's east side.

Wienckowski had a known heroin addiction. An autopsy performed by the Erie County Medical Examiner determined Amanda died of an accidental overdose of GHB. But Amanda's family never bought it.

Wienckowski had a known heroin addiction. An autopsy performed by the Erie County Medical Examiner determined Amanda died of an accidental overdose of GHB. But Amanda's family never bought it.

Earlier this year, Amanda's family exhumed her body for a second autopsy. Now they say there's a sign Amanda's death wasn't accidental.

"Pressure marks, contusions on the interior of the neck are present," said Steve Cohen, the attorney representing Amanda's family.

Former Buffalo homicide detective Dennis Delano is volunteering his services to Amanda's family. Delano became well known during a different case involving another medical report he believed wasn't accurate. He says evidence from the second autopsy showing marks on Amanda's neck shows she was strangled.

"The original autopsy doesn't mention any of this neck stuff, anything on the neck at all," said Delano.

But the pathologist who performed that second autopsy says she can't finish it without a number of Amanda's organs the Erie County Medical Examiner's office still has.

"County of Erie, turn over the body tissues and fluids," said Cohen.

"Are you holding anything from the family or the person that is doing this second autopsy?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony Billitier.

"We have complied with every request we've had so far," said Billitier.

The health commissioner says the family hasn't asked for any body parts taken during the first autopsy.

"So if indeed those body parts are wanted by the family and their attorneys, will the county hand those over?" Boose asked.

"We will make the evidence available for the other forensic pathologist," Billitier replied. "Exactly how that is done will need to be worked out."

But Billitier says the first autopsy shows no signs of a homicide.

"I don't think it's the position of our medical examiners that Amanda wasn't murdered," said Billitier. "I think their point is that on an autopsy they found nothing that would allow them to go to court and testify under oath that was murdered, and there's a big difference in the two."

The county maintains it was a drug overdose because all four of the county medical examiners came to the same conclusion, something Amanda's family continues to try and prove wrong as they wait for more signs of hope.

The family has gone to court to force both the medical examiner's office and Buffalo Police to release all records on the case. A judge is expected to rule on that request in two weeks. The county says they have handed over all requested information. Police say they can't release any information because the police investigation is still open.

WGRZ

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