OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new piece of evidence in the 34-year-old unsolved case of a missing mother has police asking for more.
February 7th was the anniversary of the disappearance of Josephine Despard. That same day, Olean Police Captain Robert Blovsky found a letter in his mailbox.
“It was addressed to me. No return address,” Blovsky said. “I looked at one of the older guys and I said, ‘Oh, this is probably about Josephine Despard,’ just joking about it. I opened it up and said, ‘Oh my God. It is!'”
Blovsky won’t reveal exactly what the letter said, but told News 4 he thinks whoever wrote it knows the person who is responsible for her disappearance.
Blovsky said, “There is a little bit in there that only someone that was possibly there at the time would know.
“What they wrote in the letter, a little bit I already knew. There’s some things I want to know.”
Despard was a 26-year-old mother to a young girl when she disappeared. She was last seen by family members at her Clinton Street home in Olean. They say she left with a man named Dale Vereecken. Police say Vereecken told them the two went to the Olean Center Mall, though nobody else could verify that Despard was there. Vereecken was never charged in this case, and committed suicide months later, according to Olean Police.
Dominick Cottone, Despard’s brother, told News 4 he believes Vereecken has something to do with what happened to his sister.
“I try to keep good memories and try not to think about how it happened,” Cottone said. “I think of the things we did in our life together.”
Cottone hopes whoever wrote police the letter steps forward and offers more information. While the investigation is still a missing person’s case, he says he believes his sister is dead.
“We’d like a funeral for Josie,” he said. “A funeral, put her to rest with my mom. My mom passed away a few years ago.”
As for his accusation about Vereecken, “I think somebody can lead me in that direction,” said Captain Blovsky. “But there’s a lot that needs to be done on this. So we need to find some kind of evidence. We need to find something of hers.
“I don’t want to lose this lead. I want to keep on this.”