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Man indicted in pair of Rotterdam deaths

Man indicted in pair of Rotterdam deaths

The man charged in connection with the deaths last week of a mother and daughter appeared Monday eve
Man indicted in pair of Rotterdam deaths
Brice Rivenburgh leaves Rotterdam Town Court on Monday, April 15, 2013, after an appearance in connection with a double homicide.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

The man charged in connection with the deaths last week of a mother and daughter appeared Monday evening in Rotterdam Town Court and was informed he’s now been indicted in the case.

Exactly what charges are included in the indictment against Brice C. Rivenburgh was not disclosed. That won’t be known until the indictment is handed up at some future date.

Rivenburgh, 28, of 2501 Oaklawn Ave., has been held since April 10. He was arrested hours after the bodies of Tammy McCormack and her daughter Jessica were discovered inside their home at 1142 Inner Drive. The deaths were ruled homicides, though police have not released the causes of death or many other details of the killings.

Rivenburgh was flanked by a half-dozen officers and investigators as he entered court Monday evening. The appearance was brief. Rivenburgh was led back out after being informed of the indictment.

Sabrina Heilmann and Kyle McCormack, siblings of Tammy’s late husband, Keith, watched the proceedings from the courtroom gallery. They said they attended the session to be their family’s eyes there.

Rivenburgh currently faces one count of first-degree burglary, accused of breaking into the home and harming two people inside.

Also Monday, family members prepared to lay Tammy McCormack and her daughter to rest. Services for mother and daughter have been scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church on Rosa Road in Schenectady (the former Our Lady of Fatima). Calling hours for both have been scheduled for Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at DeMarco Stone Funeral Home, 1605 Helderberg Ave., Rotterdam.

With Monday’s notification of the indictment, Rivenburgh will remain in jail without bail.

After the proceedings, thoughts turned to the lives lost, with Heilmann and Kyle McCormack remembering their sister-in-law and niece, and how anyone who knew them loved them. They also recalled the family trip the McCormacks took just weeks ago to the Caribbean, the first family trip for Tammy and her children, Jessica, Brad and Marie, since Keith McCormack died in 2009. Brad even got engaged on the trip, said Heilmann.

“They had great pictures of Tammy smiling,” Heilmann said. “Those are the pictures I hope to get. She was happy.”

Police discovered the bodies of Tammy and Jessica McCormack about 10:15 a.m. on April 10, after Brad McCormack alerted them that something was wrong inside. He was checking on his mother after she didn’t show up for work that day.

Police almost immediately began searching for Rivenburgh. He had spoken with police only hours earlier in connection with an item thrown from a car near the McCormacks’ home. Police caught up with Rivenburgh again by early evening.

Representing Rivenburgh was the Schenectady County Public Defender’s Office. Presiding over the appearance was Rotterdam Town Justice Kenneth Litz.

Rivenburgh, authorities have said, is believed to have had a relationship with 22-year-old Jessica McCormack. Heilmann and Kyle McCormack said they understood it was an on-again, off-again relationship.

Keith and Tammy McCormack owned and operated Lyle’s Hoagies, and Tammy McCormack also worked with the Schenectady City School District as a human resources specialist.

Tammy McCormack was described in her obituary as the neighborhood mom, someone who was kind to everyone. She had an “exceptional work ethic,” never putting herself before others. She also loved to cook, bake and read and “was an avid QVC shopper.”

“Tammy loved every kid as her own,” Heilmann recalled.

“She was just great with kids,” Kyle McCormack added.

According to her obituary, Jessica McCormack graduated from Schenectady County Community College and was working toward a career in dental hygiene. She loved swimming and music. She also enjoyed traveling and spending time with friends and family.

It was common knowledge to those who knew her, her obituary reads, that she was terrified of bugs, loved fried pickles and enjoyed margaritas and game nights.

“She laughed; she laughed all the time,” Heilmann said. “She had that great smile.”

Donations made in the McCormacks’ names are requested, according to the obituaries, to be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the local ASPCA.

“It’s just a huge loss,” Heilmann said.

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