In October 2022, I published an article about the unsolved murder of Carol Ryan, one of the most infamous cold cases in Central New York. This week, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told a reporter about a possible suspect, allegedly a former companion of the victim who knows he’s in their sights but has taken steps to elude prosecution.
The D.A. also talked about the limitations of DNA testing, and said he would be attending a meeting next week between his office and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, which recently assigned a new detective to the case.
I hope for the sake of Carol Ryan’s family that investigators are close to solving this horrific crime, now nearly 27 years old. I remain skeptical, however, of the “The boyfriend did it” theory.
Spurned boyfriends (and spurned girlfriends) do not typically abduct, assault, and destroy their former love interest with a strategically placed explosive before dumping their naked body alongside a public highway. I still believe what happened to Carol Ryan was not a crime of passion, but of opportunity, committed by a cunning, evil stranger with a pathological hatred of women. He was trolling for a victim in the early morning hours of September 1, 1996, and Carol Ryan just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And yes, I have a theory about who this person might have been. Last fall, I compiled my findings into a report and sent it to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, where I hope it’s received due consideration along with any other contribution from citizens and law enforcement alike. Police agencies are notoriously strapped for resources these days, and citizen sleuths like us can help make a difference, so long as police remain receptive.
Carol Ryan’s loved ones continue to hold out hope that her killer will be identified and brought to justice. If you have any information about the death of Carol Ryan, contact the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office at (315) 435–3051, or text an anonymous tip to 847411 along with the word TIPONON. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at https://sheriff.ongov.net/tip411/.