(Introduction to show begins)
ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN Co-Host): Hello to all of our listeners out there joining us for another episode of tonight’s show, www.MissingPieces.info - Hosted by Todd Matthews, of the www.lfgrc.org, and co-hosted by myself, Eric Meadows.
Okay, we have a really interesting show coming up for you tonight and I would like to welcome all of you gentlemen to the show. How are you?
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): Good to be here.
RICHARD INGRAHAM (Guest): Good to be here, sir.
Eric: Great. Why don't you introduce us to your guest?
Todd: Tonight we have Richard Ingraham. He is a private Investigator in the Rochester, NY area. He is working on the Sandra Anne Sollie case, and Sandra went missing May 23, 1994, and I’m looking at several case files, Richard, NY Missing, The Doe Network, The National Center for Missing Adults, the New York State Troopers, another missing person’s website. She’s got a lot of exposure. How did you get involved in the Sollie case?
Richard: Uh, in 1994, there was a young girl that was abducted and missing. Her name was Polton, Kelly Polton, and Sandra happened to be missing the same time, the same day. And, um, two years later in 1996, they located her body, and through finding the person that abducted her, and unfortunately she was murdered. And, they had a big candle vigil and a lot of television coverage and news coverage and everything, and we were watching that, and it was so sad to see everything going on. And they flashed by a quick thing about Sandra Sollie missing the same day, but they didn't dwell on her. And I said to my wife, you know, it’s too bad that they don't give the same type of coverage and so forth to the adults that are missing. It just seems sad that they don't seem as interested, the media. And so, at that point I said I think I will call them up and ask them if they would be interested in me donating my services for the charge of one dollar.
So I would be working on it pro bono. So I did, and I went up and met with the family in Oakfield, NY, which is up above Batavia, NY. And we had a long meeting at the house up there. The whole family was there. They are very nice people. Old Italian people were the parents, Dominic and Nancy Cervone, and it turned out that I started working on the case, and, uh that’s where it took off from.
Todd: Now the 4 year old, Kelly Polton, she was, her body was actually found in 1997, you say, and it is hard with a child case, they usually overshadow a lot of them, and I can see to some degree, everybody loves a child, the innocence of a child. But, it’s sad to see it overshadow another case. Because you know they did close the Polton case, and the Sollie case is still open. Its twelve years later.
Richard: That’s right, that was 1996.
Todd: And you say that you have been working on this case for this period of time. And I don't want you to give away any of your trade secrets, I know you’re a private investigator, but what types of things do you do in a case that’s cold like this? How do you keep a case from being cold?
Richard: Well, we have to, in my opinion, we have to keep lighting a fire under it, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to make sure it doesn't get forgotten and swept under the rug. That’s unfortunately happened so much in the past. And as with this case, every year I go out and hand out fliers in the area where Sandra Sollie was last seen and where she lived. And I talk to people out of cars, through car windows, I talk to shoppers, people approach me sometimes and give me a tip or think they have a tip. After I do this every year I get numerous calls, and uh, different people trying to help and assist by giving me some kind of information that might lead to something. And unfortunately it’s never worked out. But, that’s what one of the things I do every year. I got a hold of the State Police. First of all, I went on, locally on TV and in the newspaper and that started the ball rolling again. And, believe it or not, a funny thing happened, right after I did all this, all of a sudden the State Police re-opened the case and started interviewing people all over again.
Todd: I've had similar things happen. It seems like that kind of gives them a kick, that somebody else is gonna’ do this, so I guess we better do it.
Richard: That’s right.
Todd: I guess we better go ahead and try to show some effort. Now, I’m seeing that she has an NCIC number, so she has actually been admitted. Did you help arrange that for the family, or …
Richard: No. I didn't. The State Police did get involved, and I had a very good working relationship with them, with the different investigators. I've worked with probably three or four different investigators over the years. Because, for one reason or another they left the case, or something happened where I get another investigator.
Todd: You've outlived a lot of them. I've been in similar situations to that as well. Where you sort of, a reporter will graduate and move on out of the station, and law enforcement, and you’re still there.
Todd: And, you know, I think it’s important, because you’re actually able to help, you know, be a solid point in this case that doesn’t change out.
Richard: Well, I do sure keep trying. I made a commitment to the family when it all started that I would do the best that I could to try and keep it open and keep it going, and keep searching. And I’m getting older myself now and before I pass away, I would like to get closure for the family if possible. The mother has been frantic since all this happened. She is quite elderly now, both of them are, and still lights candles and prays for her daughter. They have no closure at all. We’ve gotten no closer than we ever were before. No remains were found. I searched the unidentified lists that you people put out, things like that, and we keep searching and looking.
Richard: Yes, sir, I sure do.
Todd: And www.NYMissing.com , I think, NY Missing has quite a few, you know, she’s listed there as a missing person, they certainly have unidentified persons there as well. It’s got her classified as Endangered/Missing, but I feel very confident that you think that Sandra is dead.
Richard: Ah, yes. We all think that, including the family. We’re pretty positive that she is dead and gone, along with her little dog.
Richard: Jesse is one of the factors that makes everything so strange. Her disappearance was very unusual at this point of her life. She was, even though she had been previously married, and she now lived in an apartment. She had a little black poodle named Jesse, and, uh, she had some problems in her life, but at this point she was probably at the happiest point in her life that she had been in years and years. She was seven months pregnant. She was looking forward to having this child. She was just upbeat about everything, and there is no reason for her to just take off or anything like that. She didn’t just walk away. Her apartment was locked when the police finally got involved. But, uh, her car was in the driveway, and she was just gone.
Todd: That sounds personal. I mean, it really sounds like probably somebody she knew. And, you know, and stop us now, I mean, I know it’s an active case, and we don't want to say anything that’s gonna involve it, you know, interfere with it in any way. You and I talked about that today actually. And I've been in email contact with Richard over a few years. Never really had the pleasure of talking to him until earlier today, and he’s done a lot of work. I took the time to really look through some of the stuff, and he has really done a good job trying to keep some of this stuff going. And a lot of times as an investigator he’s hitting a lot of brick walls, and his only hope is to keep re igniting this case in the media, and try to keep it in the public eye.
Richard: Yes, I do keep trying, and I can't say that I've gotten very far, but... (Laughs)
Todd: Well, You’re trying, and that’s the big thing. One of the things we
Richard: OH, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Todd: One of the things we do at Missing Pieces, we do transcribe this into text, and the text form will go onto the Internet, and it actually becomes a searchable, part of the searchable database about Sandra Sollie. We’re hoping that will actually be another message in a bottle for you. It'll definitely be another resource. I'll try to pull together a lot of these resources that you sent me, trying to, you know, help me be more familiar with this case for this interview. And I think we'll fix together something really nice that I hope will be a tool for you.
Richard: Well, I must say, not to get off the subject, but you and your staff do a great job. I try to keep up with as much as I could on the computer with your work, and all the cases that are ongoing. There are so many, so many unfortunate families that are missing loved ones.
Todd: That’s what keeps you going, though. Those people are in such dire need, you think, you know, how can you stop?
Todd: You really can't stop. One of the things that I really wanted to offer in this case was an age progression, and I’m kind of torn with that, because I think that you guys feel really confident that she’s deceased. And, you know, to age her twelve years, and that’s a significant period of time, you know, from 38 to 50. That’s, you know, we’re actually going to have to progress her to age 50, and if that’s, you know, if you can check with law enforcement or in the family to make sure that that’s going to be a welcome contribution to this case, we certainly want to offer that to you. I don't think it would hurt. Ah, you know,
Richard: I can do that. I can do that, and I appreciate it. So,…
Todd: Well, I definitely want to make sure that you get that. But, there are so many interesting things about this case. It’s fascinating, and like I said, it sounds personal. Can you, ah, can you give us your phone number, a good contact number for you. If anybody out there has a tip in this.
Richard: Yes, if anybody at all has any ideas, especially any good evidence, please contact me. My name is Richard C. Ingraham, and I’m on the Internet at email@example.com, and my phone number, you can reach me at 585-771-7085.
Todd: And of course…
Richard: You can call the NY State Police at their Canandaigua barracks or Farmington barracks and their number is… I have it right here somewhere…
Todd: Well, I've got a number for the NY State Police for you. It’s 585-398-3200.
Richard: That’s correct
Todd: That’s the one. OK
Richard: I was just looking for it. If you would like me to, I could explain a little bit more detail.
Todd: We've got a white female, brown eyes, dark brown hair, birthmark on the abdomen, scar on her upper lip, pierced ears, we've got a lot of physical evidence, I mean, you know, the descriptive factors on Sandra that, you know, do play into some type of identification.
Richard: Right. And there are several things that went on here that make this very suspicious. Number one, her dog was with her. She took her dog with her, which indicates that she was planning on coming right back.
Eric: Gentleman, we have another call. We have a caller that’s coming right back to you.
Todd: Good, good
Eric: Go ahead caller.
Caller: I am Donna Knapp. I am Sandra Sollie’s sister.
Richard: Oh, Hi Donna.
Caller / Donna: Hi How are you.
Richard: I’m good, Donna. This is Rich Ingraham.
Caller / Donna: Yeah, I hear it on the Internet. We’re taping this right now, so..
Richard: Well, you've been a lot of help. You and your whole family are great people.
Caller / Donna: Well, thank you.
Richard: This is Sandra Sollie’s sister from Batavia, NY.
Todd: Good evening, Donna.
Caller / Donna: Yes, my name is Donna Knapp. I live in Batavia, NY.
Todd: I think Richard’s provided a lot of comfort for you guys over the years.
Caller / Donna: Yes. Yes. And we really are blessed by this man. And I really appreciate what he is doing today. And I hope everybody around is listening to this because I’m not, we’re not the only one going through this. There are other families too. And you don't realize when things, you know, happen, you see it and then you hear other people and then you don't realize it could happen to your own family.
Todd: When you least expect it. You know, nobody is untouchable in this. And that’s a terrifying thing. I think if we don't do something to prevent it and fix what we are seeing, you know, it could be me, and I don't know how I would deal with it like you guys have. You guys have done a great job dealing with it, you know, in your own way. I’m not sure I would be able to hold myself together. You've been very brave.
Caller / Donna: Yeah, I believe in the Lord and something good will come of this.
Richard: Ah, Todd..
Richard: The family has been very supportive for me too. Because every year I go out, there they are. They bring their lawn chairs, they bring things with them, they come out, they grab a stack of fliers and they go help pass them out, and that’s Donna and her whole family. And, um, even the grandchildren. They’re all good people. And, um, we all try to work together on this. And it gives a little bit of comfort knowing that other people are struggling to help.
Todd: Well, it’s important that the family members get involved in this. I was actually involved in another article today in the Las Vegas Sun, and one of the law enforcement officers that was interviewed for the article as well, he made the statement: People have to take ownership of their own cases to help keep these cases in the public eye. You cannot rely on any single individual or any single entity to do that. You have to be involved. It is very difficult, because there are so many missing persons. So it is important you know, to get your name out there, and show that you have a persistence, that you do intend to see this through. And, you know, I think that’s what you’re doing with this. So that’s, ah, it’s excellent. Can you, do you want to tell us more about it, or Donna, do you have something else you want to say?
Caller / Donna: Well, I feel that what Richard is doing is great because it’s showing people all over the world that she’s not forgotten. They can look, you know, find leads and find out what happened, because we don't know what happened.
Todd: Are you getting good support from law enforcement?
Caller / Donna: Um, I really. No, not really. They don't really call the house a lot. No.
Richard: They haven't been as supportive lately as they have been in the past.
Caller / Donna: No, they really haven't.
Todd: Well that’s where somebody like Richard is important. You know, he sort of takes the role of the liaison I’m sure, communicating the data, because it’s difficult for the family to face these things head on, without some type of buffer in these cases. Just getting through the day is very difficult.
Caller / Donna: So you know, he still has been doing this in effect twelve years.
Caller / Donna: And twelve years is a long time.
Todd: And I see the progress. I can definitely see that he has kept the name out there. We certainly heard about it today.
Eric: OK. Donna, I do have a question to ask. Have the local authorities been able to question all of those that were really close to Sandra?
Caller / Donna: As far as I know, yes.
Eric: OK. Was the family able to provide any leads or suspected individuals that she may have been with?
Caller / Donna: Well, they feel that her ex-husband, Ralph Sollie, she had been with him the day she was missing, so I don't really know.
Todd: And you, you know, I’m reading that the family really feels that Sandra is no longer alive. Do you, are you just so sure that she would …
Caller / Donna: I feel she’s not, because it’s not like her just to do what they, you know, they’re saying that she walked the dog. Some people said that she walked the dog, and then she wandered away. And no, it’s not like my sister. She was really happy about the baby.
Todd: Is there any remaining hope in your family that you could possibly find her alive?
Caller / Donna: Oh, yeah. I really do.
Todd: So you've never given up that faith. That’s great.
Caller / Donna: No. I won't. No I still believe, you know, I still believe in the faith. You gotta do, you gotta have, you gotta be really strong, you know.
Todd: Well, we definitely need to do an age progression then, and treat it just as if we are looking for her dead or alive. We have to continue to search with more than one approach with it.
Eric: Donna, I do have one other question. Is there anything about Sandra that would have, or you may not even be able to divulge this information, but is there anything about Sandra that would have caused her to want to separate from the family without leaving any traces?
Caller / Donna: Well, the only thing that I thought if somebody was after her, maybe she would do that, you know, through whatever, the FBI, they say. But, I don't know. I don't feel that that’s it.
Caller / Donna: I really don't. We were planning on a shower, and I went up to her apartment and saw what she had. I mean, she had her rings in the jewelry box, the clothes were out all in the drawers, the baby’s clothes, the dog food was all spoiled, and no, she wouldn't do that.
Todd: Ok, I have to ask.
Caller / Donna: I just feel in my heart that someone, you know, took her away, did something with her.
Todd: Well, I have to ask about the father of the baby. Ah, do you know this person, the father of her baby?
Caller / Donna: Yeah, his name is Ralph Sollie. He was the father of her little boy. His name was Michael Brandon.
Todd: The unborn.
Caller / Donna: Yes. His name was Michael Brandon.
Eric: Ok, well Debra, we’re really glad that you did call.
Caller / Donna: Well, thank you.
Caller / Donna: Thank you, and I really appreciate you, and I bless you all. God bless you.
Todd: Thank you very much.
Eric: You know, we want to let you know Donna that you can let others know that Missing Pieces is here every Tuesday. So, you know, not only on Sandra, but there are others out there. So have folks listen in.
Caller / Donna: Ok
Eric: OK. Thanks again.
Caller / Donna: Ok, thank you
Richard: Bye Donna
Caller / Donna: Bye
Eric: Now, for Richard. I would like to ask you a question.
Richard: Yes, sir.
ERIC: How much information have the local authorities been able to share with you, or have they been willing to share at all? And, you know, has it been a fight for you getting the information from them?
Richard: No, not really. There hasn't been too much of a problem. They've been pretty good about it, especially the investigators that were working on it early on. We got quite close with each other, and we had a good working relationship, and, uh, they shared what they could with me out of the file, and I’m still trying to get DNA evidence or information that I can give out to you people, and get, I don't even have the blood type yet, the family doesn't seem to know the blood type, so I've got the State Police working on that yet. And, uh, of course she’s gotta have a blood type available because she was pregnant and everything. She was under a doctor’s care. So I want to try and get DNA too for forensic reasons. And, uh, as Donna mentioned it, you know, this whole thing I started to tell you before was so suspicious, because number one, she left the house with her dog, which means that, in my way of thinking, it looked like she didn't plan on being gone long. That she was just gonna’ go for a little ride with someone else, because her car was still there. And number two, the dog, the little black poodle called Jesse was very snappish at people, unless he knew them real well. So, they had to get into a car, in my opinion, with somebody that they knew quite well, that the dog knew and was familiar with.
Eric: You know, it does sound awfully personal. Ah, the question I have, excuse me, the question I do have to ask concerning the ex-husband is what was their relationship like, you know, prior to their separation, or you know, what was going on there?
Richard: They were, they were having difficulty. Ah, Ralph Sollie, whom she had been previously married to, uh, ended up marrying the girl, I guess, that did her that did Sandra Sollie’s hair, her hairdresser, the way I understand it.
Eric: Is it since her disappearance?
Richard: Ah, no, before.
Eric: Oh, OK.
Richard: And, uh,
Todd: I’m tempted to ask you your theories, but I think we probably wouldn't best get into that area.
Richard: No, I don't want to get into that too much. I just want to say that, that there is two or three people at the top of the suspect list, and of course he would be looked at by the State Police, they already have. It’s already been mentioned in the paper. He would be one of them, but there is a couple others too.
Eric: Oh, OK.
Richard: Ah, they … and that’s normal, that’s normal course of police duty. Ah, it’s something pretty normal. As you know, as you people know, and everybody, most everyone knows, that most family abductions are, where there’s been violence, or where there’s been a murder, possible murder, that the first people they look at is family. That’s a matter of course.
Todd: Standard procedure. A month later, after she disappeared, her purse was found near a car wash in Penfield, and her wallet was later found in Rochester. What’s the distance we’re talking about here, from where she actually…
Richard: Macedon < www.macedonnewyork .com > into Penfield where the car wash was is only about, probably, seven, eight miles, somewhere in that area.
Todd: Does that give you maybe a direction? Uh
Richard: It’s coming back toward Rochester. It’s coming, uh, it’s coming west. And, uh, first thing that stuck in my mind is that this was probably planted there purposefully. In my opinion, it’s my hunch, that it was planted there purposefully to throw people off.
Todd: To lead you in that direction.
Richard: Yes. And, uh, and then of course there is a possibility that they went to the car wash. Say there was blood or something in the vehicle, had be washed out or something.
Todd: But by then, it was probably too late to find any of that evidence.
Richard: Yes, and it could have been a borrowed car, or vehicle, it could have been, there are so many possibilities, and, I don't know, then everything was really messed up on top of it. The girl downstairs was a very close friend of hers and when she, after Sandy was missing, she called the ex-husband and the family and they all went over, went through the apartment, which is of course a crime scene, and contaminated the crime scene. And, uh, that made me angry, but what are you gonna’ do, it happened.
Todd: It’s too late.
Richard: Yeah, before the police got there. Yeah
Todd: Well, you had luck getting her on the web site of America’s Most Wanted. How was that experience?
Richard: Now, here I've had, I've been in touch with several places. I've been trying so hard to get some attention to this, and believe me, not for myself. I know that the only way any of these cases usually get solved is by pushing and pushing, and keeping it open and keeping people interested in it. And, I've tried to get on America’s Most Wanted. I wanted to get on television, I wanted to do a show on it, but they did not do that. But they did post her picture and her information on the web site. I've asked, I've even tried different mediums, psychics who have reputations for solving cases, and that didn't work out too good because I always got a letter back saying we've done all the pro bono work we can do this year, so… But we can help you out, but it will cost you $800, or whatever.
Todd: So, we can solve all your problems for $800. (laughs)
Richard: Yes. And you know, on the TV shows, and things like that they’re always saying that, well, you know, they’re putting on, at least putting on the persona that they’re there to help people and reach out and help people, and things like that, but then when it comes down to it, it’s always involving money.
Todd: Unfortunately, that’s usually the case, so. Now
Richard: I even wrote to uh, to uh, Montel, uh, Montel Williams, is that his name?
Richard: Montel’s show. He has Sylvia Brown on his show on Wednesday’s. Uh, I wrote to him, but I never got any feedback at all. They just said that they received my email.
Todd: I know one of the producers that works there, and the enormous volume of email that they get, and I do understand that it is difficult to pick through something like that, and they, it’s difficult to find the right cases to air.
Richard: I understand.
Todd: You can't get everybody in. And I’m trying to help the people like you guys, that are having a difficult time, you know, not the extreme highest profile cases.
You know, we hope to help improve your case, and may be struggling, and obviously you’re struggling, not that you’re not working hard, but you’re struggling to keep it in the public eye. And it’s, I want to help you take care of that. Now, has she ever been declared dead?
Richard: No, not to my, she has not been officially declared dead to my knowledge.
Todd: It’s been twelve years. So that’s uh…
Richard: I think the law used to say after seven years.
Todd: Mm Hmm
Richard: Uh, I have not heard anything officially on that.
Todd: But, you know they talked about a funeral. They would like to have something, so that they could finally have some type of funeral. What do you think? Would they ever do that, without having found a body, without having found a body? You said her parents are aging, and do you think that this would help them, to actually have?
Richard: No. No I don't. I don't think the parents would even go for that because they want something. They want some kind of permanent closure.
Todd: Of any closure.
Richard: It’s pretty normal. It’s pretty natural and that yeah, you know, even if they find her bones, they want some kind of closure. And know that at least she is at rest and they don't have to think about it anymore. It’s still driving them crazy.
Todd: Well, it’s really sad to think, you know, that they’re getting to an elderly point in their life and facing their own demise, you know, at the end of your life and then not having these answers, and I know that’s gotta be, it’s very sad. It’s gotta be very difficult to face that not having any, and there’s gonna’ be so many people in their same position. There’s a lot of people in their same position, as a matter of fact, looking for that little bit of closure. It’s just … Eric, have you got some good things, I hear you scribbling.
Eric: Well, you know something, I’m sitting here and I’m listening to this, and I can only imagine the amount of hurt that the family is really going through, you know.
Uh, Twelve years is an awful long time to wait for your child, your brother, your sister to get back in touch with you, and to try to maintain hope. I can't imagine what it’s like getting up day in and day out, and just wondering, wondering, you know, and trying to sort it out, you know, and getting older during all of that time.
Richard: Well, it’s very frustrating for me too. I, uh
Eric: I imagine it is.
Richard: I pray about it a lot and I think about it daily, and, uh, and, you know, when the leads go away, and I've exhausted all the leads, and then you got nothing but time on your hands until something else takes place. It’s just very, it’s very frustrating for me as well, even though I’m not part of the family, I’m starting to feel like I am. I’m starting to identify with them, and I’m starting to feel their hurt, personally, I mean, not professionally.
Todd: And that’s easy to do.
Todd: To get to that level of involvement, and you think why in the world would I do this to myself? You know, they certainly didn't ask to be here, and then you've actually walked into it, and willingly took it on. And I think it’s possibly just allowed them to share their burden and lighten their load, and I think you have, obviously, from talking to Donna tonight, it’s pretty obvious that you have done that. So, that alone is a lot Richard. You've done a tremendous amount, whether you can ever find them the final answer, you've done a lot.
Richard: Well, believe it or not, I catch myself sometimes saying Sandra, where are you? Where are you Sandra? Show me where you are. And, uh, of course, I’m talking to myself, but I guess I’m talking to God too.
Eric: How has that affected your family?
Richard: Pardon, me, sir?
Eric: How has that affected your family?
Richard: Um, it hasn't so much except for the time I've put into it, my own free time and that, but that’s not a problem. They are very supportive and very understanding about it.
Eric: Well let me ask you, is the community at large, and I’m talking about those in the immediate neighborhood of where Sandra had grown up and lived at, have they continued, you know, with the same fervor that you have with looking for her?
Richard: Well, I can't really honestly say whether they have or have not, but I know when I've talked to people on the street at the time of her anniversary when I go out and hand out the fliers and talk to people, they seem very interested, and they seem very understanding, and, very, uh, sad for the family. They seem like they really want to help, but, you know, all they can do is the same thing the rest of us do, is just hope something turns up.
Todd: Well, we'll definitely put your flier into the written archives, and, you know, that'll be there permanently, forever, we hope to leave that there for all time. So you can definitely refer back to that. But, anybody out there that is listening or reading this at some point in time: May 23, 1994 She was female, Caucasian, 5’5”, 130 to 140 lbs. dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, the scars … I’m hoping that somebody out there has an unidentified body that maybe has not had a lot of exposure. That uh, maybe it’s not in NCIC. Maybe they've never taken it to the Internet. And, I’m hoping that maybe this will urge them to do that, to take it to that level. I’m really curious about the Poulton case. Did you ever think that there possibly could have been a connection?
Richard: Uh, you know, at first they did think there might have been a connection because, uh, to show what a small world it is, I understand that the guy that killed the little girl had been in the same area, or knew, or possibly knew Sandra. Just not close, but like an acquaintance. But they definitely ruled that all out.
Todd: Now, he is actually probably in prison, Mark Kristi.
Richard: Oh yeah, he’s in prison.
Todd: Have you, I’m pretty sure as a private investigator, you've actually done quite a bit of background work on that, trying to look at that angle a little beyond what law enforcement has.
Richard: Yes, and every time one turns up, for instance, we just had one just got convicted the other day, turned up about a year ago, or something. He confessed to four murders of women in the area, and, uh, of course the State Police jumped on that and talked to him, I guess, and, because I called them up and mentioned it to them and everything. And they look at anybody that comes along like that. I make sure they do. I call up. I remind them. (Laughs) I’m a thorn in their side at times.
Todd: Well, you have to be.
Eric: You know, Richard, you had talked about DNA evidence. Now, she was, if I’m not mistaken, seven months pregnant?
Eric: Now, has her physician been able to release anything?
Richard: That, I have, I do not know, because I have left that up to the police agency because they are the ones with the official power that could do anything about that, or could get that information. Even though I am licensed in New York State as a private investigator, that does not give me any powers to subpoena anything. Um, they could arrange all that.
Todd: That’s on your thorn in their side list, I’m sure.
Eric: Does the family have any power or say so along those lines?
Richard: Uh, see, I've kinda’ left that whole area there up to the State Police and the family.
Todd: And there’re reasons for that
Richard: There’re legal reasons for it, yeah.
Eric: I understand.
Todd: Now, there is something else that happened with this case. It’s a little bit of a twist to this case, and I’m real curious about this. I've been wanting to ask you about it. Four people were charged with using some credit cards belonging to Sollie. The cops found that none of these people could be connected to her disappearance.
Richard: That’s correct.
Todd: Well, how about a little more information on that. That is what the newspaper actually gives it. I know you've looked into that. Is that something we can talk about to some degree? How did they end up with her credit cards?
Richard: Well, they stated that they found them, and then they took them down into the city of Rochester. I guess some were also found down in the city. The wallet was found in Penfield, NY at the car wash, and the credit cards were allegedly found in the city. And these people got a hold of them, and they used the credit cards and ran some things up on them, or charged some things, and they got traced down by the State Police, and they got questioned extensively, and the State Police ruled them out. I did not get in on that. I had nothing to do with that. That was before I got involved in the case.
Todd: And credit cards are sometimes sold and exchanged to try to make them a little harder to trace. Man, I've seen that a half dozen times, you know, people pass them along to another area before people catch up with them when you’re using them, because, you know, they know that somebody is hot on their trail with those usually.
Todd: So, any other theories that you might have with this case? Do you actually see resolution in this case?
Richard: Well, the only resolution that I see at this point…..
Todd: Other than just faith.
Richard: I'll tell you truth. I am sure in my heart that someone out there knows something. And even if this was done on a one to one basis, even if the perpetrator got her to go for a ride, and did away with her and disposed of her body in a very secretive manner, I still think that there is at least one person out there in our world that knows something that would be enough to start a prosecution or start an investigation in a new area, or in a new way. I honestly believe that. And I think that out of fear, possibly out of fear, they won't come forward. That’s why one of the reasons every year I go out on television and in the news media and hand out these fliers. It’s because I am trying to get that person to feel enough guilt to possibly make a call, even an anonymous call.
Todd: That would help, and it can be done, you know.
Richard: Of course it can.
Todd: Well, maybe God will talk to their heart and let them know that this is the right thing to do. You know, you can be as guilty as, if you’re guilty by association or knowing something that could relieve these people of the pain that they’re going through, you definitely have an obligation to come forward with information if you have it. And, uh, I think we’re pretty much begging somebody to do that tonight, if at all possible.
Richard: Yes, sir, I am, I certainly am begging to get some help. As I said, I’m getting older. I don't know how many more years I can work on this, but I hope to be able to rest peacefully at the end here if I can get some kind of closure. It’s so important for me and the family, especially the family. They’re a great bunch of people. It’s a large family, and, uh, they need some kind of closure, that’s all there is to it. And you know the sad thing is, as you mentioned early on in our talk here, that people don't, in my opinion, don't give the same attention and regard to missing adults as they do children. Especially if the adult has, you know, has a little bit of a background, or anything in that nature. They just, I don’t know, I guess its human nature. We all love children and I can certainly understand why people feel so sad and feel more obligated to do something when it’s a child. But, it seems so when it’s an adult that people just have the attitude, well I’m gonna’ mind my own business.
Todd: Well, and there’s privacy issues with adults. And it does make it difficult. You don't see that this is the case. And I've talked to people in cases where, you know, somebody has actually taken off. And sometimes a privacy issue will prevent somebody from actually locating them through the means of law enforcement.
Todd: You know, you can't exactly pass on information that the person doesn't want passed on. And I think you’re pretty much sure that this is not the case in this particular case. It’s not a privacy issue.
Richard: No. But, you know, it’s, uh, it’s amazing, you know, that people … I could not, myself, I could not go to sleep at night. I mean, I couldn't sleep good if I knew something. And even if I disliked the person that had some kind of a brutal ending, or something, I just could not, I could not function. I don't know how people can do that.
Todd: Now the area. Is there … I’m not familiar with the geography of your area.
Uh, are there places that somebody could actually dispose of a body that it wouldn't be found yet? You know, when you think about New York in general, you think of a big city. But, you know, there’s a lot of upstate New York areas that are just as country as where I’m at in Tennessee.
Richard: Oh yes, you’re correct there. We have some real wild areas up here in upstate New York. We have some beautiful forest trees and hills and lakes and streams and woods. There’s many, many, many places. Um, if a body got put, got done away with and was mutilated or dissected, or anything like that and put in a dumpster, it would go to the, it would go, like in a compactor, compactor it would go to the dump. And, unless you were awful lucky, unless somebody was awful lucky to happen to spot something in the dump. I mean, a lot of people aren't out there playing around in the dump. And, uh
Todd: Oh, God only knows how many people, of these missing people that are actually in a dump, because, it’s very easy to do that.
Richard: That’s right.
Todd: Sad, but true. I’m hoping more efforts are put into that to prevent that type of thing. You know, I wonder what could you do to prevent … How do you check a dump?
Richard: Well, it can be done with, with uh, it can be done with dogs, cadaver dogs. And they have new equipment out now that locates bodies through heat radiation, through some kind of radiation thing underground, and things like that.
But, with all the stuff that’s in a dump that would be very, very difficult and with the smell and everything in the dump the dogs would have difficulty. It would be almost impossible.
Todd: And you know, twelve years ago, that’s twelve years of garbage on top.
Richard: Now, that’s right. Now it would be impossible. It would have had to happen early on for that. Or, you know, there are so many different ways that it could be disposed of. A person that hunts a lot or something could take a body way up in the woods that nobody hardly ever goes in, and has been woods for probably fifty years or better, and dispose of a body. Who’s gonna’ find it, unless a hunter accidentally finds it?
Todd: It happens every year. Every year at hunting season you know, you read in the paper somebody, and I've read it recently, somebody found a body during a hunting trip. And it happens a lot. I’m hoping the hunters, uh, well, I've seen things in the woods before and I’ve went back and looked at it. I thought, you know, that looked like a shirt, and you go back, and I’m hoping any hunters out there that actually see something and they give it a second thought. Maybe go back and confirm that, that, you know that it’s not somebody. You know, because have you ever passed anything in the car and you thought could that have been somebody lying there, or a piece of a shirt, a clue for a crime that you’re not even aware of. You know, you really could, you know, very possible.
Richard: I think Americans as a whole, especially now with all that’s going on in the world with terrorism, and everything else. We all have to be more alert and more aware of our surroundings. Um, whether you’re hiking or, as you said, hunting, or anything like that. I think we have to be more aware of what’s going on around us and be more observant and uh, I think you know people need to start thinking about things like this.
Todd: Like you said, people do mind their own business and not get involved in things. But, you know, you gotta’ get involved in something like this because you never know when it’s gonna’ come back and touch you yourself.
Richard: That’s correct.
Todd: It’s all, everybody that I talk to, I had no idea this could have happened to me. It’s something that happens to other people, but it’s not. You know, it’s gonna’ happen to somebody at some point in time. I think we can get a little bit of a check list here. Do you know if the family’s DNA has been entered into the National DNA Database?
Richard: No, it has not. And this is, uh … Oh, excuse me, I think that they did. It seems to me that they did do some DNA on the family. Now, I’ll have to double check that. But, it was quite a few years ago, but it seems to me I recall that they swabbed the parents, or something like that, swabbed their mouth or something. I will check into that though, that’s a good thought.
Todd: We need to look at that. If you could find out about the, you know, I want to offer an age progression, but I don’t want to upset the law enforcement with that, so …
Richard: It’s a funny thing you mention that, because just today, uh, yesterday it was, I sent an email to the investigator, State Police investigator, requesting if they had yet determined the DNA or blood type, and uh, I got an email back that said that they had not, that they don’t have any DNA, and they would have to look in the file for the blood type. This bothers me a little bit because, as you said, all they have to do is get it from the family.
Todd: Right, and if you’re not getting a clear answer on that, the possibility is that it’s not happened. And I’ve found that out from experience over time. So that would definitely be something to pursue on that, because I know the DNA submitted, it is going to be something that is gonna’ work in time, that we have to utilize. It’s just like the FBI NCIC. It has to be used. Can you tell us anything about any of the bodies that have been found that were considered possible matches for Sandra Sollie.
Richard: There have been a couple of them. Now, we’ve had … they weren’t necessarily possible matches, but, uh, someone would, like last year someone found bones, and uh, nearby, and of course right away everybody, we all got excited. The hair went up on my neck. I called the investigators up about it and they got right on it, and they were checking it out, and it turned out it wasn’t her. But every time, you’re right, that happens a lot; maybe not a lot, but maybe once or twice a year. A body, the remains of a body is found along side the road, or out in the woods, or wherever, and of course we’re very alert to that.
Todd: Well the Doe Network has a chronological and geographical index where you can actually look by state, by time period, by sex, you know, there are so many ways to look at it, at the cases on the Doe Network. And, I’m pretty confident, I can say with some degree of confidence that this case has been cross referenced quite often on the Doe Network, I’m pretty sure of that. But, you know, there are other web sites. You know, I think there are other web sites that need to be looked at, and I’m sure you’re doing that at any point in time.
Richard: Going back to the State Police and that. They have done a lot of work on this in the past, and I do understand that they have other they have hundreds and hundreds of other cases to work on. Plus brand new fresh cases, of course, they have to pay attention to right away because that’s, the whole thing is trying to get, solve a case while it’s fresh. So I understand they’re very busy. But, sometimes it gets very frustrating because six months go by, or eight months, and I’ll inquire, and they’ll say well no, we haven’t heard nothing and we’ve been real busy. It just gets so frustrating. I almost sometimes think you’re working alone on this.
Todd: I’m just really pleased …
Richard: You gotta keep pushing, you gotta’ keep pushing
Todd: Well, you’ve got a lot done. I’m really pleased to see the NCIC data. We’ll actually include the NCIC number in the archives. So we’ll have all of this information there. Now, the NCIC, what do feel about how effective do you think the NCIC is in these cases.
Richard: Well, if they, of course, if they, these unidentified bodies they turn up. That would help of course in that scenario.
Todd: Well, it helps in more than one way. It could actually generate a match itself, and then there’s always the statistical data that we have. It helps make that more accurate so we have a better handle on how many people there are missing and how many people there are unidentified, and it’s a real task to get everybody in that NCIC database. Just for the statistical benefits of it, that’s really a trick. But, uh, I definitely think we’re gonna’ have to have, every guest we have we want them to come back, and hopefully around the time that uh, unless it’s hopefully solved by this point in time, around the anniversary would be a particularly good time if you would be willing to come back at that point in time.
Richard: That would be great. That would be excellent, because that would be so helpful to the case. And we really do appreciate you. People, I don’t think people understand how much you people, all of you people and your staff have done for missing children, missing people, and trying to give comfort to the families. I don’t think that you guys ever get the deserved credit that you should have.
Todd: We get a lot of thank you's, and that’s good. A lot of people don’t realize that we are all, for the most part, normal people. You know, you have this world where you are actually visible in this world and in the media, and then you’re still a normal person that goes to a job every day.
Richard: Well, now listen, Todd, there’s been a few times in my life that I haven’t been called normal.
Todd: (laughs). Well, ain’t we ... We’ve all got a very interesting hobby, and I think a lot of people, they think I look at bones all day long. And I thought, that’s not really, I do get a few skulls in the mail when we’re doing reconstructions, but I don’t sit and pore over bones during the day. You know, a lot of it is just talking to people like you, gathering data, doing radio, transcribing data. So it’s not this fancy crime scene where you’re wearing these gloves and you’re handling real clues and things like that. You know, a lot of it’s real hard work, let me tell you something. Typing up an archive for one of these shows, well it ain’t fun. I’ve had my twelve year, uh my fourteen year old son to help me a lot, and I have to beg him to help me. But, uh, well Eric, have you got anything else to add to this?
Eric: I do want to ask one question. You were talking about perpetrators or people who may have done these incidents, giving up information, even if it’s done anonymously. Has that ever happened before?
Richard: Well, it hasn’t happened to me personally, but I know it’s happened. And all the people in this case, all her friends, acquaintances, any name we ever got has been interviewed and re-interviewed. The case was kind of closed when I got on it. It was kind of like closed, it was kind of dead. And, that’s why I jumped in there and raised cane and brought it to the media again, and lo and behold the case was re-opened, and it hasn’t been forgotten since. But I do notice that it’s starting to get forgotten again, and we can’t let this happen. We can’t let it happen to any of them, to anybody. And it’s so important that the public out there is aware of these. I’m sure there’s a lot of people in the world that doesn’t realize how many missing people, adults and children, that there is. I really believe that. Because they just don’t pay attention. And it’s programs like this that you people have, that you put on, that you exert yourself to try and work for the missing and for the dead, and it’s a great, great thing you’re doing.
Todd: You make it all worth it. You know, just people that realize it and appreciate it. It makes it worth it. It really does, because then when I hear somebody say what you say, I know that we made a difference.
Richard: Well, you have to me anyway.
Todd: And you have too.
Richard: I really appreciate it. I appreciate all your help and all your efforts, and I’m hoping that we can work together, and I’m sure you will keep me in mind, and keep the case in mind. And hopefully that maybe you can through your efforts and your contacts you could reach out to some public and private entities, and see if we can’t get something else going.
Todd: Well, you’re a P.I., I might hit you up for a freebie on another case.
Richard: There you go. I’d be glad to help you out. As a matter of fact, I am on the list as an investigator for www.ForTheKids.org, for the children, for the missing children, missing kids. I’ve never been called on to do
anything yet, not even put up a poster, but that’s all right.
Todd: Well, I’m on the advisory board for that organization too, so I have a feeling you’re gonna’ get a lot more calls.
Richard: Yeah, I’ll think I’ll get involved with adults. This is so hard in itself. I can’t, I know that children are very, very hard. I, I, If we have time, I have a missing case, had a missing case years ago where a husband came to us after he had been working with the police for about two years. His daughter had been abducted by his ex-wife during a visit, during a custodial visit. And, uh, he had never seen her since, for two years. And I kept searching and searching, and I went out and climbed hills, and talked to people, and went all over. I went to Ohio, and I went to Florida, and all over. I got a tip finally about possibly she had been with a county fair. So, I pursued that and then I finally got enough information to locate her and the FBI, I turned it over to the FBI, and they picked her up, the mother and the child, up in Texas. They were living in the back of a camper. And a lot of people out there should know this: That a lot of runaways are abductions. The adult will take the child and live by the means of fairs and carnivals, and things like that, because they can get paid under the table. They can get paid cash. They don’t have any kind of paper trail, and they can live like that for years.
Todd: And we got one of those cases coming up in one our future shows as well. So, we’re going to cover that base too.
Richard: Now, that’s very important for them to keep in mind because that’s how I found them. And I’ve found out since that that’s what a lot of people do. They go hide in the carnivals.
Todd: That’s the trick. Well, Eric, how was the show?
Eric: Gentlemen, I’ve got to tell you it’s been an awfully good show, but, as usual, we have to say goodnight to each and every one of you. Rich, it’s been fun having you here. It’s been quite informative, if nothing else. So we want for you to come back again.
Richard: Thank you very much Eric. It’s been so nice talking to you, and I do appreciate your efforts, and Todd’s efforts and the whole staff.
Eric: You’re quite welcome, both of you, gentlemen. Good night.
Todd: Good night Eric. Talk to you next week.
Richard: Good night Todd.
Todd: Good night.
Richard: Good night Eric.
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Private Investigator Ingraham has spent the last 12 years
working with the authorities and Sandra Sollie's family (pro-bono)
to find answers to her mysterious disappearance.