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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DNA helps police ID body of former Cumberland resident found in reservior

 A REPOST FROM THE CUMBERLAND TIMES NEWS followed by two other links as well.

This involves a Cumberland, Maryland woman's death who was a very close friend to a very close friend of my own, and her name is referenced in the story below.

She told me how this woman's daughter had not heard from her Mother for a long time, and when I asked how long, she told me in several years, and I questioned, was this a pattern or something new?

I was told she would have stayed in touch for certain, and I suggested she urge her friend Winter to file a missing persons report as quickly as possible.

I am thankful that my friend urged strongly enough over the phone calls on ocassion to her friend Winter to please follow through.

I am saddened by the outcome as I am sure are so many others, and as this looks to be suspicious as reported, I pray now for peace to family and friends, and Justice for anyone invlved in foul play.

I simply found several articles and wanted to leave them with their links below as each has something the other may not, yet they of course convey the same tragic overall story.

I hope whoever may read this that may be family or friend are at peace, as I saw how hurt my own best friend was when she gave some statements to the reporter for the article that follows.
April 21, 2012

Woman’s N.Y. death mystery

DNA helps police ID body of former Cumberland resident found in reservior

— CUMBERLAND — As authorities in New York state continue to investigate the death of 45-year-old Traci Douglass, a former Cumberland resident whose body was recently identified with state-of-the-art DNA testing, her former best friend in the Queen City hopes someone can provide police information to help solve the case.

“Traci knew an awful lot of people in Cumberland and she easily befriended people,” said city resident Rhonda Lynn Fazenbaker. “If someone talked to her before she went missing, if they have any information — even something they may not think is important — please give that information to police.”

A woman’s body was found on the Kinzua Reservoir on Sept. 26, 2009, by a pedestrian who called police. A few weeks ago, Fazenbaker heard from Douglass’ daughter, who said her mom’s body had been identified as the woman who was found in the reservoir.

Douglass’ death is believed to be a result of foul play, according to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department. The FBI has provided assistance in the case.

“I would like to find out who did this to her and to help her daughter to get some closure. I’m glad they now have her body and will be able to put her to rest. I understand she will be brought back to Garrett County for burial,” said Fazenbaker, who contacted the Times-News in an effort to publicize information about Douglass and possibly stir information that will aid investigators.

“I met Traci when she moved to Cumberland around 1994. She lived at Fort Cumberland Homes and had a daughter and son who were twins. Her son Dylan died in 2001, when he was 9, of brain cancer at home and he had hospice care.

“Traci worked at Flowerland on Virginia Avenue for a while. She was born and raised in Bloomington. I believe she lived in Baltimore County for a few years when she was first married. She remarried while she was living here. She took her daughter, Winter, and moved to New York about three to five months after Dylan died.

“Traci was my best friend. She was dating my boyfriend’s brother when I first met her. After she moved, we talked about four times a month. She seemed to be doing OK and was working in a book store up there in Salamanca. Her daughter was in school at the time. Traci wasn’t depressed.”

In December 2006, Fazenbaker was contacted by Winter, who said that she couldn’t find her mom. “Winter said a lady had come into McDonald’s where Winter worked and told her that her mom was going to meet her boyfriend and that he had been abusive to her in the past,” recalled Fazenbaker. “Winter asked me what should she do. I told her to report her mom missing.”

For six years, Douglass’ family and friends remained clueless about her disappearance. Now that her body has been identified, police are working to determine who is responsible for her death.

Cattaraugus Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb said, “This effort is a plea to anybody in the public to please contact us if you have any information whatsoever regarding Traci Douglass. We would like to hear from anybody and everybody in her social circle. Any piece of information that they may have, that may seem insignificant to them, may be very significant to us. We want to get to know her. We want to get to know every job she had, every friend she had, every enemy she had, every landlord she had. We want to know where she slept, where she ate, what her hobbies were, what made her happy, what made her sad, Any piece of information that the public has about Traci, we want.”

The sheriff made his remarks to the The Post-Journal of Jamestown, N.Y., in late February.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at


Traci Douglass Found: New York Reservoir Remains From 2009 Identified

According to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office, the remains belong to Traci Douglass, a 45-year-old woman from Salamanca who has been missing since 2006.
During a Tuesday press conference, Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb credited advances in DNA testing and assistance from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City with making the identification possible.
Douglass' cause of death has been listed as unnatural and investigators suspect foul play was involved.
"The umbrella of unnatural death could include a couple of different things," Whitcomb said. "It could be suicide [or] it could be accidental. More than likely in this case what we are leaning toward, however, is foul play."
A fisherman discovered the remains along the edge of the Allegheny Reservoir on Sept. 26, 2009. There was initial speculation that the remains belonged to Corrie Anderson, a mother of three from Ashville who went missing in October 2008, but the medical examiner was able to rule her out using dental records.
TRACI DOUGLASS CASE PHOTOS: (Article Continues Below)

The remains were then handed over to Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, a forensic anthropologist at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. A preliminary forensic examination by Dirkmaat revealed the remains were likely those of a woman between the ages of 25 and 45.
Due to the condition of the remains and the fact that they had been in an exposed environment for a lengthy period of time, forensic experts had a difficult time extracting DNA. It was not until recent advances were made in the process that experts were able to obtain a usable sample and make the identification.
Whitcomb is now hoping that the identification of the remains will help detectives uncover new leads in the case.
"This effort is a plea to anybody in the public to please contact us if you have any information whatsoever regarding Traci Douglass," he said. "We would like to hear from anybody and everybody in her social circle."
"We are still in a frustrating place right now because this is not solved," he added. "This is about determining what caused this to happen and seeking justice if necessary if that is what is required in this case."
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department at 716-983-9191.