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Saturday, February 4, 2023

DATELINE The Bad Man – Did James Krauseneck get away with murder for 40 years? * starcasm.net

On February 19, 1982, in Brighton, New York, on a cold and snowy day, James Krauseneck killed his sleeping wife Cathy (29) with an axe. He then left her body and their three-year-old daughter alone in the house while he went to work at Eastman Kodak. For nearly 40 years, he got away with brutal crimes.

Cathy Clausenecker (NBC)

what the neighbors saw

Their neighbor, Joanne Bouvier, had worked with James at the Eastman Kodak Co. When she got home, she saw the medical examiner’s vehicle at the Krauseneck home. The police told her there had been a burglary, and Joanne struggled to recall anything unusual she had seen in the neighborhood that day. She wondered if the strange jogger she had seen that morning had anything to do with the crime.

Where did James and Cathy meet?

James and Cathy Krauseneck were high school sweethearts in Michigan. James came from a prominent family in the community who owned a local rug shop. Cathy’s mother couldn’t be more proud that her daughter married a man of such high social status.

For a while, James and Cathy moved to Colorado, where James attended graduate school in economics. While they were there, Cathy gave birth to their daughter Sarah. After James graduated, the family moved to the Rochester, New York area, where he was offered a position with Eastman Kodak Company.

missed appointment

The day Cathy died, her friend Gloria Winkowski was supposed to take Cathy and Sara to the doctor. Worried about missing her appointment, Gloria kept calling Cathy until a police officer eventually answered.

The only witness was a 3 year old girl

Sara, 3, is left alone all day and looks like she’s fully dressed. James showed great concern for his daughter.

He told police that when he left the house that morning, everyone was asleep, and came home just before 5 p.m. to find a shattered window pane. When he walked in, he said he found his wife dead on the bed with an ax stuck in her head.

James immediately took his daughter to a neighbor’s house. While living there, Sara drew a stick figure of her mother lying in bed to get through her miserable day.

She was the only witness, and she told police that when she got up that day, her father had already left for work. No one was there to make breakfast. She said she saw a “bad man” in “mum’s bed”.

The man had “long blond hair” and was naked in the house for an extended period of time. Eventually police realized she wasn’t describing the perpetrator but her mother, who she no longer recognized.

Did Ed Laraby murder Cathy?

Investigators quickly set their sights on Ed Laraby, a convicted rapist who lived nearby. Ed said he was at work at the time of the incident and his alibi has been established. Additionally, there is no indication that Cathy was sexually assaulted.

Ten years later, though Ed Larrabee did kill people. In 1991, he murdered Stephanie Kupchynsky.

premeditated burglary

The scene in the house doesn’t look like a typical burglary. Although the door was unlocked, it appeared someone had broken the glass on the door, police said.

Instead of a mess, a silver tray sits discreetly on the floor.

Investigators believe Cathy’s murder may have been committed by someone she knew.

The case is unsolved, the murderer surfaced

The police soon received a letter claiming that Cathy was having an affair, but had no other evidence. Detectives have spoken to hundreds of people about the case but have found no real leads.

The case remained lukewarm until 2012, when former suspect Ed Laraby confessed to the 1991 murder of Stephanie Kupchynsky. He said he raped Stephanie, then decided he needed to kill her to get rid of the witness.

Ed committed multiple rapes and often wore a ski mask while committing these heinous acts.

Ed was in prison for a string of sex crimes and was seriously ill. On his deathbed in 2014, Ed confessed to the murder of Cathy Clausenecker.


After Ed confessed, investigators decided to perform modern DNA testing on the never-before-tested murder weapon.

Detectives even noticed that the killer’s shoe prints matched boat shoes, which were likely worn by intruders coming in from the snow. Then they saw boat shoes in crime scene photos in the bedroom.

what james did after cathy died

After Cathy’s murder, James married three times. He abruptly ended his marriage to his first wife over their morning coffee. Still, it’s not proof of murder.

James was arrested in 2019, but there is still no conclusive evidence. Prosecutors argued that James was likely the murderer of his wife because there was no other evidence that anyone else did it.

In November 2022, James was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment.

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