A businessman’s murder leaves behind several unanswered questions.
For almost 20 years, Stanley Gryziec and his brother, Peter, operated a few local businesses, including a gas station and a bar, in Rome, New York. Stanley and his wife, Esther, lived right next door to the station. According to Stanley’s daughter, Sharon Migliaccio, her parents’ life was happy and secure, until the night of November 6, 1976:
Sharon said her dad raced downstairs when he heard the commotion of two men breaking into their house:
Eventually the two men left. No one knew why they broke in or if they got what they came for. According to Sharon, her mother waited until she could no longer feel any movement in the house, then tried to free herself:
From the beginning, a cloud of suspicion loomed over the investigation of Stanley Gryziec’s murder. The night of the killing, police barred the Gryziec family from entering the home. After thoroughly searching the ransacked house, Detective John Keys of the Rome Police Department determined that the only things missing were two bottles of beer from the refrigerator:
The next day, the family was finally permitted to enter the home. Stanley’s son, Martin, found an important clue the police had missed:
It was a curious request, but the case would soon take an even more disturbing turn. The official autopsy report stated that Stanley Gryziec had been killed by a single stab wound to the heart. Stanley’s son Martin refused to accept the “official” autopsy report:
There was only one way to settle the question. Stanley’s body was exhumed and a second autopsy performed. It revealed that he had been killed by a .25 caliber bullet, fired through his chest. There never had been a stab wound.
It would seem difficult to mistake a bullet wound for one made by a knife. Was the ruling simply an oversight or was it deliberate? And if so, who ordered the cover-up and why? Stanley’s children believe that someone wanted it to look like their father had been stabbed to death. It seemed that these questions would remain forever unanswered… until a witness stepped forward.
In March of 1989, an admitted drug dealer told police that he knew who killed Stanley Gryziec. For obvious reasons, the drug dealer asked to have his name withheld:
The witness claimed he never agreed to the break-in. Based on his information, the case was reactivated with a new team of investigators. The investigators contacted Amy Scott, Stanley’s neighbor. Amy told investigators that shortly after 11:00 PM, she saw a man walking through the alley towards Stanley Gryziec’s home:
A few days later, while Amy was at the local bank, she saw the men in the Lincoln again. To Amy it seemed like they were following her:
Detectives also learned that the owner of a local bookstore, Patsy Peck, had seen the two men the day before Stanley was killed. Patsy also said they were driving a white Lincoln Continental:
When investigators asked Patsy why she had not come forward with this information before, she told them that she had. Patsy told Detective John Keys that she had spoken to one of the original detectives:
“We do know that the investigators talked to Patsy and Amy but we looked in our files and found there wasn’t anything put down in documentation form as to their interview with Patsy Peck.”
Robert Saunders, another lead nvestigator on the case, learned that another witness claimed to have spotted the same men at the same bar:
Authorities began searching for a connection between Stanley Gryziec’s murder and the bar where the informant had worked and the two men had been seen. They discovered that the bar’s liquor license had been held by Peter Gryziec, Stanley’s older brother. Then Stanley’s children related a puzzling incident that had occurred eight months before the murder. Peter Gryziec was gravely ill and Stanley went to visit him. No one knew what was said that day, but the two brothers, who had always been close, never spoke again. Peter died four months later.
The murder of Stanley Gryziec remains unsolved and numerous questions remain unanswered. Why did the intruders ransack the house? Why did the initial investigators fail to report the details of their conversation with the bookstore owner? Finally, what was the connection between the bar, Peter Gryziec and Stanley’s murder? Authorities are hoping that someone can answer these questions.