Body of Albany Woman to be Exhumed in Hope of Solving her Murder
A cold case dating back 63 years has haunted the Capital Region and the town of Colonie since 1959. Now, police hope the potential of DNA evidence can bring closure to the victim's family.
On December 8, 1959, a bus driver made the horrific discovery. The body of a lifeless young woman in a ditch off to the side of Sand Creek Road in Colonie.
The woman was identified as 18 year old Ruth Whitman of Albany. Police determined the official cause of death was drowning - perhaps from the water in the ditch, but it was apparent that she had been brutally attacked and murdered.
Back in 1959 there was no DNA analysis available, but Colonie Police believe there is a slight chance that DNA from the victim's body could hold clues that could identify the killer. Spotlight News looked into the matter in depth and talked to Deputy Colonie Police Chief Robert Winn:
This was an investigative step we had always considered and it is certainly a drastic measure, in any case, to exhume a body, but at this point in the investigation there is nothing left for us to do. This is the last attempt for us to try and get DNA evidence.
Winn says there are a number of suspects, including infamous Capital Region serial killer Robert Garrow, who police say may have lived near Whitman at the time of her murder.
Whitman is currently buried at Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont. Police say they expect the exhumation to happen this summer. DNA will be collected by a medical examiner and sent to a lab in Virginia to be analyzed. Analysis could take as long as six months.
Colonie Police are working with the College of St. Rose Cold Case Analysis Center in their investigation. The Center gives students a chance to examine and reexamine evidence from unsolved cases in the Capital Region.