Missing nun found dead

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

According to Buffalo, New York Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson, Sister Karen Klimczak, 62, a Catholic nun who went missing on Friday, has been found dead in a shallow grave. Her body was found inside a shed in the backyard of an abandoned house just five miles from her home. Police believe that she was either suffocated or strangled and her body did not show any immediate signs of a gunshot wound or a stab wound. They are waiting awaiting the results of an autopsy.

"We've lost a tireless champion of the people," Buffalo Mayor, Byron W. Brown said on Monday.

Klimczak founded and lived in the Bissonette House in 1989, a halfway house for ex-convicts who are considered to be non-violent. It was named after Rev. A Joseph Bissonette, a priest that was killed in the house in 1987 by an ex-convict that was residing there.

"It is a tremendous tragedy that this repeats itself 19 years later," added Brown.

Craig Lynch, 37, an ex-convict who has been living in the house since April 5, according to Gipson, was arrested and confessed to the murder while also admitting to being on drugs at the time. According to Gipson, however, Lynch said the murder was "an accident." Lynch was paroled in January from Wyoming Correctional Facility after time served from a conviction related to auto theft.

Police say he was attempting to steal Klimczak's cellular phone from her room when she returned home on Friday. Detective Sgt. James P. Lonergan, the lead investigator on this case, says Lynch then attacked Klimczak from behind when she got to the door and then proceeded to dispose of the body.

"He initially hid the body behind a house on George Street and he covered it with some debris. He [then] went to a shed behind a vacant house and dug a shallow grave, then he brought the body there and put it in the grave," said Lonergan.

The phone, along with some of the victims clothing and various personal belongings, were found in two different trash cans near her home.

Lynch is expected to be charged with larceny and second-degree murder.

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