Krauseneck Ax Murder Update And More

Cathy and Jim Krauseneck with baby daughter Sara, circa 1979-80

Krauseneck Case Update

See the website http://www.krausneck.com for a more complete history of the case. That site is produced by journalists Nancy Monaghan and Laurie Bennett who are writing a book about the case. Also, I have written articles about the case and Nancy Monaghan’s involvement in writing about it which are available at the Archive here. The posts are dated June 22, 2020 and April 5, 2021.

James Krauseneck’s arrest–37 years after the crime was committed– for his wife’s 1982 ax murder continues to wind its way through the New York State court system. Krauseneck was indicted on one count of first degree murder by a county grand jury late in 2019 based on evidence gleaned from an FBI cold case review and the contents of 2018 interviews with Krauseneck and his daughter, Sara K. Young. He was released on bail following his arrest and returned to his home in Arizona. A trial date originally set for January 2021 was postponed due to Covid.

In June 2021, New York State Supreme Court 7th District Judge Charles Schiano Jr. heard four days of pre-trial motions made by James Krauseneck’s defense attorneys, Michael Wolford and William Easton, and expert witness testimony presented by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. Defense motions have argued that the Brighton Police department failed to investigate suspects other than Jim Krauseneck, presented their own expert testimony conflicting with a prosecution expert’s testimony about the time of death, and have argued that the prosecution cannot produce new evidence that was unavailable when the crime was committed, asking that the case therefore be dismissed. Prosecution witnesses rebutted defense claims. Presiding Judge Schiano is currently reviewing those motions and the additional witnesses’ testimony.

Before a trial date can be scheduled, the judge will hold one final proceeding, a Huntley Hearing, to consider the legal admissibility of some statements that were not made in a courtroom. The Hearing is expected to be held later this month.

In summary, here are some of my own unanswered questions: If Krauseneck returned from work at 5 p.m. as he testified, why did it take him an hour to carry his toddler daughter across the street at about 6 p.m., as his neighbor told detectives at the time, to ask her to call police? Why didn’t he or his family members maintain contact with Brighton police about the status of the investigation? Doesn’t it seem unusual that he closed the family dog (who was not heard by neighbors to bark during the crime) in the basement before he left for work? Why would anyone expect Sara Krauseneck Young to ever think her father– the parent who raised her from age 4 and selected all the information she ever heard about her mother’s murder– might be guilty of the crime? I’ll save the rest of my questions until the legal proceedings have concluded!

True Crime Mama Site Changes

If you are a long-time follower, the posts you may have seen in the last few days may seem familiars. If so, you are not losing your mind! –I am re-arranging the site by subject categories and have changed some titles to better reflect their content. Thanks so much for reading!

I want to increase my readship and encourage readers to stay on the site longer, so I will be adding some different types of content–like book reviews of true crime works and more digital video content– in coming weeks.

Stay tuned, and please encourage people you know who may be interested to check out the site and become a Follower. I am actively seeking a book publisher now and understand that a vibrant social media presence will help me with that. Stay well, get vaccinated, and keep reading everything, everywhere!

I Began With An Ax Murder

On February 19, 1982 I was a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom living in Rochester NY when my sister phoned to tell me a woman about my age had been murdered in her home near where we lived. Her 3 1/2-year-old daughter Sara had been left all day in the house: Upstairs Cathy Krauseneck’s body, an ax embedded in her head, lay where she had been asleep in the master bedroom of their neat suburban house in Brighton, a Rochester suburb.

Unsubstantiated rumors spread like wildfire: The husband, an economist with Eastman Kodak Company, did it. Theories about motive abounded. The single fact that most stunned and horrified me was that a little girl, only slightly older than my two baby boys, had been left alone in that house.

My sister and I had long been intrigued about murders without apparent motive, particularly murders by strangers. I had been writing mainstream fiction for many years. In the summer of 1991 I decided to research and begin to write a non-fiction book about the Krauseneck murders, the first of my true crime writing projects. I began by having breakfast with Detective Gary Printy, then retired, who was the primary investigator on the case. He told me that the house appeared to have been staged to look like a burglary attempt, but no valuables were taken. More oddly still, he said there were no fingerprints at the murder scene. I interviewed Brighton Police Chief Tom Voelkl who described the investigation, answered my questions, and arranged to have me spend a day with one of his investigators. A friend hosted a meeting with a woman who knew Cathy Krauseneck in Rochester and who offered her opinions and described conversations she had with Cathy near the time of the murder. I drove to Mt. Clemens MI, the home of the Krauseneck family and the Schlossers, who were Cathy’s family, where I interviewed family members and conducted research at the County courthouse and public library. I toured the Krauseneck home on Del Rio Drive and photographed all the rooms.

After several years of research, conducting interviews, and writing, I hit a dead end. There had not been an arrest for the crime and so my story could have no satisfying end. I put my notes away. Eventually I retired and moved with my husband to Florida. Then, in November 2019, 37 years after the murder was committed, I got an email from a Rochester friend. A Monroe County NY grand jury had indicted James Krauseneck for the murder of his wife.

Advances in forensic technology had allowed detectives, with assistance from an FBI cold case task force, to re-examine the case and develop refined evidence they felt was sufficient to prosecute the case. Krauseneck was arrested and is now out on bail living with his fourth wife in Arizona. He awaits a trial that was scheduled to begin this month before the coronavirus slowed down the world.

I will never know why I kept all my notes and drafts and photos about the case, but I did. And in November, I got a call from Nancy Monaghan who had been a reporter, editor, and publisher for Gannett News Service and U.S.A. Today. She and her colleague Laurie Bennett, also a reporter who had worked for a Rochester newspaper at the time of the Krauseneck murder, had begun to write a book about the case. Would I be willing to discuss it with her if she flew to Sarasota to meet? I would. I did, and I gave her my case files to add to the mountain of information she and Laurie had already collected and were analyzing. They have a website with greater detail about the case that I have embedded below. I hope to be in Rochester for the trial, and look forward to Nancy’s and Laurie’s book.

https://krauseneck.com/about-us/