BATAVIA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Water runs rapidly along the bank of Little Tonawanda Creek near Batavia. For many, this is a remote and beautiful spot in Genesee County to enjoy peace and quiet. For the family of 41-year-old Ann Rippel, the creek brings back terrible memories of an April day 22 years ago.
It was the morning of April 23, 1997 when Ann Rippel’s body was discovered face down in the creek by a driver passing by.
The family says it’s believed Ann was only in the water about an hour before she was found.
The 41-year-old was naked from the waist down, and had duct tape around her neck and near her mouth.
Janet Rippel says her sister was last seen in Batavia around 11:00 p.m. the night before.
“This isn’t some place that she would have been,” said Janet. “Somebody left her here to die.”
The family says some DNA was recovered from the scene. They’re hoping new DNA sequencing, using sites like Ancestry.com and 23 and Me can help trace a family tree back to whoever the DNA may belong to.
The family hopes that social media can help bring leads to the now cold case. Rippel has created the “Remembering Annie” page, sharing Ann’s story .
“She was so vibrant,” she said of her sister. “Anybody that knew her knew how funny and vibrant she was. She loved her children. Her children were her pride and joy.”
The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will not comment on this case because it is still an active investigation.