Wienckowski family asks County Legislature to investigate Medical Examiner's Office
The family of Amanda Wienckowski, the woman who's body was found in a dumpster four years ago, is calling for an investigation into the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office. Thursday, the family went to the Erie County Legislature to plead their case but as YNN's Kevin Jolly reports, there may be little county lawmakers can do.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Less than two weeks after the Buffalo Common Council passed a resolution calling for an investigation into the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office, the family of Amanda Wienckowski took their case to the Erie County Legislature.
"We're looking to shine light onto the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office, the mistakes that it's made, and the problems with that office, whether it's negligence or corruption. That's what we're here to enlighten the Erie County Legislature about," said Steven Cohen, Wienckowski family lawyer.
Twenty-year old Amanda Wienckowski's naked and frozen body was found in a dumpster outside a Buffalo church in December 2008. The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Amanda died from an accidental drug overdose, which closed the door on a homicide investigation. But Wienckowski’s family argues the autopsy was botched and that Amanda was murdered.
"Get the death certificate changed to 'murder,' to what it was. There was no accidental overdose. This girl was not a prostitute. She got led the wrong way to the wrong people," said Terry Miller, Wienckowski's uncle.
Family spokesperson Kathy Weppner told the lawmakers how two independent autopsies, paid for by the family, also concluded Amanda did not die of a drug overdose but was strangled.
“The death certificate must be changed to homicide. The homicide squad who all knew she had been murdered must be allowed to investigate, finish their investigation and it has to be prosecuted and let's let a jury decide if this girl was killed or not," said Weppner.
Despite the compelling and emotional testimony, legislator Lynn Marinelli says their hands may be tied.
"They're very serious charges. I take them seriously as a representative but that's for the judicial branch. Ours is a house of fiscal and certainly we can ask these questions with the executive branch and our Health and Human Services Committee," said Marinelli.
YNN also reached out to District Attorney Frank Sedita for comment but he declined at this time.