Sandra Cervone-Sollie vanished from Macedon on this day in 1994. A private investigator, working on the case for free, remains determined to learn what happened.
The caller sounded nervous, and he talked fast. So fast, in fact, that private investigator Richard Ingraham didn’t have time to write down what he had said when the man called his cell phone just after 2 p.m. May 30, 2007.
The man told Ingraham he knew a person in Palmyra who had first-hand information about who killed Sandra Cervone-Sollie, a woman from Macedon whom Ingraham has been searching for tirelessly for the past 12 years.
“He said, ‘I’m only gonna say this once. I know a guy who knows who killed her,’” Ingraham said.
The man hung up before Ingraham could write down what he had said. The sound of traffic and static on the phone made it hard to hear. Ingraham would have called the tipster back, but a telephone number was not listed on his caller ID.
“He was real nervous, like he was afraid to get involved,” Ingraham recalled.
He is hoping that the caller will resurface, with information that might at last bring closure to Cervone-Sollie’s loved ones. “I’m pleading with this person to please call me back,” Ingraham said.
The 38-year-old divorcee, who was six and a half months pregnant, was last seen at the former Ames store on Route 31 in Macedon on this day 14 years ago. Her Honda was found parked outside her apartment on Route 350, but there were few clues. Her beloved poodle, Jessie, vanished, too.
Early on, police thought they had a break in the case when her credit cards were used to buy approximately $1,000 worth of merchandise at various Rochester stores. But the four suspects said they got the cards from a boy who found Cervone-Sollie’s wallet on North Street.
There have been other leads over the years, but they haven’t panned out, either. She and her unborn infant, whom she planned to name Brandon Michael, are presumed dead.
On this grim anniversary every year, Ingraham travels from his home in Henrietta to Macedon to hand out missing-person flyers and share Cervone-Sollie’s story with whoever will listen. This year will be no different, but with the Ames store long closed, he had planned to stand at the intersection of Main Street and Route 350 most of the day.
Ingraham has taken on the case for free, working with state police investigators and with Cervone-Sollie’s relatives. In his quest to find closure, he has taken some unorthodox approaches over the years: Last year, he consulted with Noreen Renier, a psychic from Virginia who was hired in 2002 to work on the high-profile Laci Peterson case.
Ingraham had mailed Renier some of Cervone-Sollie’s personal possessions, including a calendar she kept in her apartment. He then had a few telephone conversations with the psychic. He said she offered some good leads, most of which he doesn’t want to divulge yet. He did offer this: Renier saw Cervone-Sollie’s body near water.
Also, Cervone-Sollie’s loved ones have also enlisted help on cyberspace, putting a missing-persons page on the social networking Web site, Myspace. There are photos, news clips and a video. The song “Amazing Grace” plays.
In the past year, Cervone-Sollie’s mother, Nancy Cervone of Oakfield, passed away. Ingraham had wanted badly for her to leave this earth knowing what had become of her daughter.
Ingraham just turned 74, but remains as determined as ever. “I want to get this case closed before I die if I can,” he said. “I promised the family I would.”
Jessica Pierce can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.