The day Yolanda Bindics went missing, the working mother of four told several people she had good news to share.
Was her good news alarming to someone else, and did that information lead to her death?
That’s what Chautauqua County investigators are hoping to learn as part of a relatively new unit established to review unsolved missing person and homicide cases. In the case of Bindics, it went from a missing person probe to a homicide investigation that to this day remains unsolved.
She was last seen the night of Aug. 10, 2004, and her disappearance sparked numerous searches. Those efforts provided few answers to the family of the 25-year-old woman until remains were found in September 2006 by hunters in a heavily wooded area in the town of Charlotte.
Dental records ultimately confirmed the remains were those of the missing Jamestown woman.
A candlelight vigil was held Aug. 10 of last year at Bergman Park in Jamestown. The date marked the 17-year anniversary of when Bindics was last seen alive leaving work on Fluvanna Avenue.
“My family is hurting really bad,” Bindics’ sister, Anne Chmielewski, told The Post-Journal before the vigil. “The pain is not getting any better, but we’re pushing through.”
She added: “It’s extremely painful and really, I speak for most of the family I think, it’s getting worse and harder that we don’t have the answers and an arrest and the fact that someone is living life freely. That’s not fair – it’s 17 years, it kind of seems like a long time, but it doesn’t seem that long. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. “
On Thursday, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office through its Unsolved Crimes Unit issued a call for new information on the Bindics case. Investigators noted that Bindics said she had good news to share the day she was last seen.
“Did the person or persons she met that night outside of Family Dollar in Jamestown react to the news by taking Yolanda’s life?” a news release from the unit questioned.
Investigators, Tom Tarpley and Tom Di Zinno, also point out the spot where Bindics’ remains were found was likely only known to hunters or campers who frequented the area.
In its news release, the unit said “New leads have been generated and new forensic technology is being utilized to analyze evidence which was not possible in the past.”
Further, Witnesses were re-interviewed providing new information. New databases not previously available have generated new data on suspects. “
At the time, the search for Bindics took police and volunteers to various parts of the county, including the landfill and Chautauqua Gorge. It mirrored similar searches following the disappearance of Lori Bova in June 1997.
“The time for bringing peace to Yoland’s family is near,” the unit said. “The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Unsolved Crimes Unit needs your help to close the door on this case and arrest the individual (s) who murdered Yolanda. … Close the door on Yoland’s murder now. “
Information can be sent via email at [email protected] or by calling Tarpley at 716-753-4578 or Di Zinno at 716-753-4579.