ALLEGANY, N.Y. — West Five Mile Road winds deep through rural Cattaraugus County, running right along the banks of Five Mile Creek just north of St. Bonaventure University.
Nearly a half-century ago, this country road was the site of a brutal homicide, which to this day remains one of the oldest unsolved homicides in the New York State Police's westernmost district. On Oct. 20, 1970, a 23-year-old nurse named Carol Fitzmaurice was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown attacker inside her home on West Five Mile. Her husband, Daniel, discovered her body that evening after returning home from work.
The murder is perplexing. A clear motive has never been publicly established. An arrest has never been made.
But that doesn't mean the case is unsolvable.
Senior investigator Julio Giardini, who began examining this case with a fresh perspective in May 2015, said he's just waiting for that smallest bit of evidence or information that could point the whole investigation in the right direction.
"There haven't been a lot of leads the last several years," Giardini said, "but we're hoping the public can come forward with something we can use."
The case file for this investigation is enormous: Giardini has three full boxes of records stacked on a desk in his Olean office, just a short drive away from the original crime scene. Over the years, State Police have interviewed multiple persons of interest, and after searching the creek behind the Fitzmaurice residence, they even recovered a 12-inch knife that matched a set in the kitchen. They determined that knife was the murder weapon.
But investigators could never match the evidence to a suspect.
Luckily, DNA evidence and fingerprints were obtained at the scene back in 1970, so it's just a matter of figuring out who it belongs to. Investigators are also hopeful that new witnesses may be more willing to come forward after nearly a half-century.
"A certain amount of time has passed. We're hoping possibly, they feel comfortable now, and we hope possibly in the future that DNA or fingerprint development can happen," Giardini said, "and lead us to some type of closure in the case."
According to newspaper reports at the time of the murder, Fitzmaurice had married her husband, Daniel, just two years before her death. She left behind not only her husband, but also her parents and a brother.
Fitzmaurice's husband died two years later in 1972. Her parents are also no longer alive. However, Fitzmaurice's brother still lives in the area, and he's been in contact frequently with State Police.
"We do check in with him on occasion," Giardini said, "and yes, we'd love to solve the case for him."
Fitzmaurice's brother was not comfortable speaking on camera with 2 On Your Side, but he said he fully supported efforts by State Police to publicize the case.
It's been a long time, certainly, but Giardini wants anybody with any information — no matter how small — to come forward. He urges people to call him at the State Police barracks in Olean at 585-373-2552.
"Even if you think it's not important at that time, or even now, please call," he said, "and we'll decide whether it's important or not."