Former Homicide Detective Says Wienckowski was Murdered

September 27, 2013 Updated May 4, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 4, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

An autopsy that ruled Amanda Wienckowski's death was caused by an accidental drug overdose was wrong and missed vital clues that point to homicide as the real cause, a former homicide detective told reporters on Monday.

Dennis Delano said a new autopsy, conducted privately and paid for by Wienckowski's family, found finger pressure marks and contusions that are consistent with strangulation.

The 20-year-old's remains were exhumed and examined by California pathologist Dr. Silvia Comparini.

Wienckowski's body was discovered on January 9, 2009, upside down and frozen in a garbage tote on Buffalo's east side.

Police, at first, investigated the death as suspicious until the medical examiner's office ruled the death was caused by an accidental heroin overdoes.

"If I was working, it would have never stopped being a homicide," Delano said. "Nothing adds up in this case."

Delano and Steven Cohen, the family's attorney, presented graphic photographs of Amanda's neck that showed marks that Dr. Comparini said are consistent with strangulation.

Comparini discovered that several body parts were missing and said a more thorough ruling could not be made without them.

"Almost her entire heart is missing and her vital organs," Cohen said.

"We will make the evidence available for the other forensic pathologist," said Dr. Anthony Billitier, Erie County's health commissioner.

"Exactly how that is done will have to be worked out," he said.

Buffalo Police say the case remains open and active and is being investigated by homicide detectives.