SCHENECTADY — With additional autopsy results still pending, the Schenectady Police Department has yet to deem the inquiry into the death of Samantha Humphrey a homicide investigation.
Humphrey’s body was found in the Mohawk River on Feb. 22, with an autopsy conducted the following day that confirmed the identity of the missing 14-year-old Schenectady girl.
Schenectady Police Lt. Ryan Macherone said on Wednesday that the department will be making further determinations about the case when the further information is received.
“At this time, we are awaiting additional autopsy results and we won’t be able to provide further updates until at least that step has been completed,” he said. “We do not have an indication as to when we should be expecting them yet.”
In a radio appearance on WGY Mornings with Doug Goudie on Tuesday, Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino explained the process that law enforcement agencies undergo regarding autopsies.
“It takes a long time sometimes to get the toxicology reports back that will tell you what might be in the person’s system,” he said. “Even though a body has been in the water, the pathologists and the medical examiners can study different organs. What basically the autopsy would tell you is if a person had drowned or had been deceased before they entered the water.”
During the radio appearance, Giardino, a former Fulton County District Attorney and Fulton County Court Judge, praised the Schenectady department while discussing the case.
“I will tell you as a [former] county court judge when I sat in Schenectady and now as a sheriff, I work in Schenectady a lot,” he said. “They have a very high clearance rate in a difficult situation with homicides. The national clearance rate is only 50 percent and Schenectady has a higher rate than that. They have excellent investigators. I’m confident with all of the tools and technology that we have that this will result in identifying the person that committed these acts and caused the death of Samantha.”
In an interview on Wednesday, Giardino clarified that he had not been informed that the Schenectady police had launched a homicide investigation concerning Humphrey.
“It’s not a homicide until they determine it’s a homicide,” he said. “I would say it’s certainly an unusual death.”
Humphrey was last seen on Nov. 25 at approximately 11:30 p.m. in the area of Riverside Park in Schenectady, the same location the body was recovered from the river three months later.
Giardino said on Wednesday that the county’s sonar team assisted the Schenectady police in searching the river on several occasions during the search efforts.
“I guess time will tell us,” he said of the potential homicide determination. “Maybe it’s intuition and being a DA, judge and now a sheriff. They’re [Schenectady police] the lead agency and I just made an assumption.”