Updated 03/23/2012 05:32 PM
Police identify skeletal remains
A seven-year-old missing persons case is solved and a death investigation begins as police identify skeletal remains found near Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt. Tracy Kulas was last seen in 2005. Our Kat De Maria updates us on Kulas' case and tells us what comes next.
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DEWITT, N.Y. -- "I am here this morning along with the district attorney to report we have identified the skeletal remains that were discovered last Saturday on March 17th," said DeWitt Police Chief Eugene Conway.
It's what DeWitt officers and town crews have been working toward all week in the woods behind ShoppingTown Mall, and what the police chief says the families of several missing people have been hoping for. But in the end, the closure and also the grief go to the husband and children of Tracy Kulas.
Kulas, who was 30 in 2005 when she disappeared, was living at the Lincoln Elms Assisted Living Facility on West Onondaga Street in Syracuse, police sid, because of a medical condition.
"Tracy was a resident there a short time, just three months. March 21st, the administrative staff there called to report her missing," Conway said.
At the time, Syracuse police said they looked into chat rooms Kulas frequented, and were investigating the possibility she left the Lincoln Elms in a black pick-up truck. DeWitt police, now leading the investigation, say they cannot comment on the earlier case. But they say so far they have worked carefully to secure Kulas' remains and other clues.
"There was a purse found and in that purse were personal items belonging to Tracy," Conway said.
Now that the question of where Tracy Kulas has been for the past seven years has been answered, the next part of the mystery is to figure out how she got from her home in downtown Syracuse into the woods.
"There's nothing to lead us to believe it was criminal or non-criminal. And obviously that is where the investigation will now focus," Conway said.
Conway said Kulas didn't work or have a specific reason to be at ShoppingTown, but was from the eastern suburbs and likely familiar with the mall. The investigation will now take officers back to 2005, working to find out what happened to Tracy Kulas and allowing her and her family to finally have peace.
Anyone with any information that could help police in their investigation into Tracy Kulas' death is urged to call them at (315) 632-0071.