10-06-2016, 05:58 AM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2014
NY - Stephen Bender, 30 & Michael Forness, 29, Allegany, 6 February 1978
New York State Police Press Release
Cold Case Tuesday – The New York State Police in Olean continue to investigate the 1978 homicide of Stephen C. Bender and Michael R. Forness in the town of Allegany, NY.
On February 6, 1978, 30-year-old Stephen C. Bender and 29-year-old Michael R. Forness were found murdered at the Wing Hollow Ski Corporation. Bender and Forness, both employees, were found in the early morning hours, shot multiple times. Numerous leads were examined and an extensive search of the surrounding area was conducted.
A floor mounted safe had been removed from the Ski Lodge on the property and contained an estimated $18,000 in currency. The safe was later recovered beneath the Vandalia Bridge in the Allegheny River. The safe was empty.
The investigation is ongoing as the State Police continue to receive tips and information pertaining to the circumstances surrounding this incident. To this day, the identity of the perpetrators of this crime are unknown.
New look at Ski Wing murders - April 2002
Police theorize a third employee, a janitor, likely escaped death when he fell asleep watching TV at home and didn't show up for work until about 3 a.m. He was supposed to report at midnight, about the time his colleagues were shot.
The victims, Stephen Bender, 30, and Michael Forness, 29, had come in off the slopes when one of the grooming vehicles broke down. They were each shot three times, once in the back of the head, execution style.The safe was sent to a Canadian lab in hopes of identifying the tool the killers used to cut a hole in its side. Composite sketches were released of two of three men seen in the area where the safe was dumped.
There were promising leads … some substantial physical evidence,said Inv. Stofer, now a part-time investigator with the Cattaraugus County District Attorneys Office.
But the leads ran cold and the killers were never found.
The two men who were killed were taken by surprise during a robbery, according to New York State Police senior investigator Gulio Giardini.
“There was a floor mounted safe that was taken from the ski lodge, and it contained approximately $18,000 and currency,” Giardini said. “We believe it would’ve taken at least a couple people to grab it. We believe the safe weighed approximately 175 pounds. It was a floor mounted safe so it would’ve had to been pulled from the floor.”
The employee who found the men when he showed up for his shift in the early morning hours of Feb. 6 is not a suspect, although investigators still believe it could have been an inside job.
“We think there might of been some prior knowledge, and we also believe that they were surprised and again, removing that safe from the floor, that would take some work,” Giardini said. “That’s not something that you’d be able to do in just a few minutes. That would take some time to remove that from the floor.”
There's a very in-depth conversation about these murders on Topix. With over 7,000 comments, it will take awhile to go through it all but some of the users provide more links to the story.
10-12-2016, 04:00 AM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2014
Authorities revive Wing Hollow horror story
An editorial in the Feb. 7, 1978, edition of the Times Herald called for swift justice.
Almost four decades later, that’s yet to be done.
New York State Police last week — releasing a new “Cold Case Tuesday” storyline — recalled the Wing Hollow ski resort double murder of Feb. 6, 1978, which left two slope groomers dead after they apparently surprised burglars successfully chiseling out an office floor safe containing some $18,000 from solid concrete.
Evidence still isn’t concrete, while leads do surface sporadically, said state police Senior Inv. Gulio Giardini, who is assigned to the case.Although it was highlighted on a state police media-resource website, the case has no new “real update,” Giardini said, noting “Cold Case Tuesday” is meant to refresh public memories of investigations that have slowed or become dormant in hopes of uncovering more details.
“We continue to field calls. People who reach out to us with tips, we follow those up,” he said. “Unfortunately, the case is nearly 39 years old. We don’t have any concrete evidence going forward as far as making an arrest. We certainly keep our mind open. We have an ambitious unit here at Machias and Olean.”“I don’t know I would say it’s surprising,” Giardini said when asked his feelings about no confession or smoking gun in nearly 39 years. “I would say it’s disappointing. Certainly, the family members want closure.”
Giardini still has confidence. “Conscience,” he said, should ultimately compel someone to come forward.
“Someone out there has information about the case,” the senior investigator said.
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