The brown bag that mysteriously appeared at the front door of the home of an alleged rape victim’s mother has stumped Buffalo’s most experienced lawyers and investigators.
What is it?
How did it get there?
And above all, why would someone do such a thing?
Some answers may come Friday. Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III has scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. “to address allegations of evidence tampering,” according to an email sent to reporters Thursday.
Many questions swirl around the bag purported to have held the rape kit used to collect evidence from the woman who has accused Patrick Kane of raping her.
Veteran law enforcement officers and lawyers who have been observing the Kane investigation shared their questions and concerns about the bag with The Buffalo News. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they do not have authorization to speak publicly about the case in which the alleged victim claims Kane raped her early on the morning of Aug. 2 in his Hamburg home after they met at a downtown bar.
Kane has not been charged but said last week that he has done nothing wrong and is confident that the investigation will absolve him.
The News reported Monday that DNA tests taken from the rape kit showed no trace of Kane’s DNA in her genital area, according to four sources, although DNA was found on her shoulders and under her fingernails.
Then on Tuesday afternoon, the alleged victim’s mother found a paper bag slipped between the storm door and the front door of her home.
The alleged victim’s attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou, said it is the bag that was used to hold the rape kit which was used to collect evidence during the woman’s physical examination at Erie County Medical Center.
But is it?
Eoannou – who in a surprise development withdrew from the case Thursday night – told reporters in no uncertain terms Wednesday that the bag found “is the rape kit evidence bag.”
The lawyer said he went to great lengths to authenticate “that this is the evidence sticker, that that is the evidence bag,” he said.
“We confirmed it through the hospital yesterday, and we’ve had a number of law enforcement come in and confirm it.”
He said there is a sticker on the bag with the victim’s name and date of birth, along with the initials of a nurse.
Law enforcement officers who have been observing the case raised questions about what the bag really is.
Some suggested the bag also could have been an evidence bag that was used to hold the alleged victim’s clothing, such as underwear, which can be analyzed for DNA evidence.
Two law enforcement officers said it may also just be a property bag, issued by the hospital that was used to hold personal items, such as a purse or a wallet, during the examination. The items would have been given back to her when she was discharged from the hospital. They also said the bag was not a Hamburg Police Department evidence bag.