State police investigating homicide of elderly man in Allegany County

WARD, N.Y. (WIVB)- New York State Police are asking for the public’s help in a homicide investigation.

Police found 82-year-old Ray Cornelius of Ward, N.Y. dead from an apparent gunshot wound July 3.

Cornelius was found alone in his home on Wadsworth Hill Road in the Town of Ward.

Trooper Jim O’Callaghan said the last time family heard from Cornelius was July 1.

“Right now we have from July 1 to July 3. If we could bring the time frame in closer just with different interview of maybe even people live around there, that would help in our investigation at this time,” he said.

Police would not comment further on the investigation, if there are any possible suspects, or if the suspected gun has been recovered.

Trooper O’Callagahn said police are beginning with interviewing the family.

According to neighbors, Cornelius was married but his wife passed away several years ago. They said he has a son who lives in the area.

Jack Brown lives down the road from Cornelius in Scio, the neighboring town.

“He was a real nice man. He was a trapper, a hunter, a farmer. Loved his animals, loved to be outside a lot,” Brown said.

According to neighbors, the 82-year-old suffered from arthritis, and was slowing down a bit but lived mostly independent.

A close friend and neighbor, Jim Rogers, said Cornelius used to own horses. He also noted Cornelius owned a lot of guns, and was surprised to learn he’d been shot.

“I couldn’t believe anyone could get in there to him. He had quite a lot of firearms and stuff. He would not be the person that I would think anybody could sneak up on.”

Police said most residents in the area are seasonal, but Cornelius lived there year round. Investigators are hoping to conduct more interviews from possible witnesses who may have been in the area over the Fourth of July weekend.

Rogers said investigators were search all over the area for days. He said they were looking in the pond across the road from his friend’s farm house.

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