Update: Sheriff Releases Homicide Victim’s Name

WESTFIELD – Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace announced today the name of the victim of a homicide on Wednesday in the town of Westfield as Mary E. Whitaker of 8448 Titus Road in that town and also of New York City. More details will be announced as they become available. A report from earlier today is below.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputies continue to guard the caution-taped property at 8448 Titus Road where the body of a 61-year-old woman was found Wednesday.

Sheriff Joe Gerace said an autopsy was ensuing at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, while the cause of death was homicide by an apparent gun shot wound. He could not comment on potential suspects.

“We’re interviewing a friend of the victim to determine she had family, and we’re reluctant to release anything else until everyone has been properly notified,” he said.

Gerace added that sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the FBI and New York State Police in the investigation. He also said officers would remain on the scene until further notice.

“We will hold the scene. We have to regroup and get fresh people there and we’ll continue our crime scene searches until we believe we’ve obtained every piece of evidence possible, and then we’ll release the house,” Gerace said.

After a scanner report around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday called officers to the home, located in the town of Westfield, another report dispatched officers to search for a vehicle possibly involved in the crime.

As of Thursday afternoon, Gerace said sheriff’s deputies were no longer searching for the vehicle.

The one-story ranch at 8448 Titus Road was occupied solely by the victim. There were no other injuries.

“We’re on the ground and working hard to come up with a solution,” Gerace concluded.