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Clues wanted in death of 'Gramma Doe'

"Gramma Doe" was buried by Erie County in an unmarked grave at a Town of Hamburg cemetery after she died nearly a dozen years ago.

Buffalo police cold case detectives believe someone, somewhere knows the identity of the still unidentified woman who was discovered by a fisherman Sept. 26, 1995 in the waters off Squaw Island. They are asking for the public's help.

"She had a postman. She had a paperboy. A next-door neighbor," said Detective LissaRedmond. "Somebody knows who this woman is."

Redmond, who recently joined the department's cold case squad, said she came across the case going through old files of unsolved cases.

"It kind of dumb-founded me that a woman who was well-dressed, well-groomed and well-nourished would be unclaimed after 12 years," Redmond said.

Police published a drawing of what they believe Gramma Doe looked like at the time of her death. The woman, described as a 5-foot-2, 132-pound white female in her 60s, had blue eyes. She was wearing a white trench coat with a metal butterfly pin, a brown shirt, blue pants, a metal Timex watch and new white sneakers, authorities said.

Her body was pulled from the water about 11:15 a.m. the day she was found. Authorities estimated she had only been dead about five or six hours.

The case is not necessarily considered a homicide, but it is listed as "suspicious," until police are able to determine the circumstances surrounding her death, Redmond said.

"She's never been identified," said Michael J. DeGeorge, police spokesman. "No one has ever claimed her."

DeGeorge said detectives tried unsuccessfully for two years to identify her after her body was found. Last year's reinstatement of the department's Cold Case Squad has enabled police to reopen these types of cases, he said.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact cold case detectives at 851-4511.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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