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Search for Falls killer 'narrowing by the day'

Two Niagara Falls murders remain unsolved
Posted at 2:24 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-10 11:06:30-04

Every year millions stand at the edge of Niagara Falls, marveling at all its might. 

But three miles away and one year later, a mystery is still unsolved.  Who killed Terri Bills and left her dismembered body to decay inside a home on Willow Avenue?

"It's just tough that you come by and you still get chills," Bills' nephew Josh Highway said.  "You don't know what's going on... it's tough."

Highway has been outspoken about finding her killer. "I keep trying.  I don't want it to happen to somebody else."

Another one of his relatives was also brutally murdered.  Loretta Gates is related to Terri Bills through marriage. Gates was found dismembered, three years before Bills, also in Niagara Falls.  This case is also unsolved.

Kelly Rizzo is the police department's Chief of Detectives. 

"The first one was bad enough," Rizzo said.  "The fact that it happened a second time is very eye opening and then you're always going day to day hoping there's not going to be a third."

But Police Chief Bryan Dalporto says, one major problem they face in solving both these cases is a lack of actual evidence.

"Often we talk about DNA or a fingerprint," Dalporto said.  "We just lack that one thing to point us in one singular direction."

Now, police are sifting through cell phone records to see who Terri Bills was in touch with the day her phone went dark.  They're also looking for any possible connection to Loretta Gates, whose body was dumped over the Falls, back in 2012.

"Just going through all those phone records is really time consuming," Rizzo said.  "We're actually building a background on several people we wish to interview."  Rizzo said some of those people are local. 

Last year, investigators stormed abandoned homes around the area where Bills' body was found.  They were searching for clues, but came up empty handed.

After searching cell phone records for a year straight, investigators say they've got a much better idea of who could be responsible.

"Let's put it this way, our search is narrowing by the day," Rizzo said.

Although they haven't provided any time table, police say they'll soon be back on the streets, interviewing those who've come up in their sweep.

For two families, however, the unknown looms like the mist over the mighty Niagara.

"We pray it comes out who did it so we can catch them," Highway said.