Woman Dies of Gunshot Wound in Southern Tier Homicide

TOWN OF WESTFIELD, N.Y. - Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a homicide at 8448 Titus Road in Westfield.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace said Thursday that a 61-year-old woman was found dead Wednesday.

Officials say they received a call around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday from friends of the victim to check on her because they could not reach her.

Police have identified the woman has Mary E. Whitaker, of Wesfield and New York City. Whitaker was a 35-year member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, most recently as a 2nd violinist, according to Marty Merkley, the director or programming, at the Chautauqua Institution.

A nearby neighbor, Joseph Bettinger, said Whitaker was a private but "very nice lady." He said he used to see her practicing violin in her home's front window.

Police have not released information about any suspects or a motive, but Gerace says the investigation is still active and that more details are likely forthcoming.


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