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NO FOUL PLAY FOUND IN DEATH OF ORCHARD PARK WOMAN, 74

Preliminary findings from an autopsy on a once-missing 74-year-old Orchard Park woman Monday revealed that there was no foul play involved in her death, Orchard Park police reported.

Jean S. Bidner was reported missing from her Powers Road home March 13. Her body was discovered at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday in a heavily wooded area by a resident of Draudt Road, who called police.

The official results of the autopsy and cause of death are pending laboratory tests, but police are confident Bidner's death was not suspicious, according to Orchard Park Lt. Andy Benz.

"I didn't see anything at the autopsy that would indicate it was suspicious at all," Benz said. He said police will wait for the final lab results, which are expected in six to eight weeks.

Police say they did all they could in trying to locate Bidner.

Orchard Park Police Chief Samuel M. McCune said Bidner wasn't reported missing until March 13, two days after she was last seen. That's why it was impractical to conduct a massive air and ground search, he said.

"We searched," McCune said. "There were fliers put up in churches and convenience stores. We contacted the local newspapers. We had custodians searching apartment buildings. Even a medium was involved. People knew we were looking for this lady."

"When you don't have any solid leads you can follow, you're sort of searching in the dark," McCune added.

Bidner, described as independent, did not suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's, police were told.

She did, however, have a history of wandering from home.

In December 2002, she was found in a closet in an apartment complex near her home after having been missing for 12 days.

Earlier that year, in August, she was found walking in Hamburg at about 11:30 one night, miles from where she had left her car. She had left her home about 12 hours earlier and failed to show up for a doctor's appointment.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com
and tpignataro@buffnews.com

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