Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Stanley and Esther Gryziec

Real Name: Stanley Edward Gryziec
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Rome, New York
Date: November 6, 1976


Details: Fifty-nine-year-old Stanley Gryziec lived with his wife, Esther, at their home in Rome, New York. It was attached to a gas station and liquor store that were owned by them from 1957 to 1976. Stanley was in charge of the liquor store while his brothers, Peter and Bernard, ran the gas station. On the night of November 6, 1976, Esther was doing her nightly check of the doors and windows when two unidentified men broke into their house. The men, both wearing ski masks, tied her up and then began ransacking the house. She noticed that one of them had a small, pearl-handled gun. Stanley, who was upstairs running her a bath, ran down and was attacked by them. They looked through the house for over two hours before leaving. After they did so, Esther freed herself and found Stanley dead. Their six-year-old grandson was asleep in another bedroom; he was left unharmed.
Police searched the house and determined that only two bottles of beer were missing. It was suspected that the men were searching for something hidden by Stanley. The next day, the Gryziecs' children were allowed to enter the house. While looking around, their son, Martin, was shocked to discover a shell casing on the dining room floor, where Stanley had been killed. Somehow, the police had missed this during their search. When Martin called them, a detective came to the house and took the shell casing with him.
The official autopsy report stated that Stanley had died from a single stab wound to the heart. His family did not believe this because of the gun that Esther saw and the shell casing found on the floor. His body was later exhumed and a second autopsy was performed. It was then determined that he had been shot to death by a .25 caliber bullet. His family suspected a cover-up in the case. Sadly, Esther passed away two years later without ever seeing Stanley's killers apprehended.
No new leads surfaced in the case until 1989. In March, a new witness came forward, claiming to know the identity of the person that hired the killers. The informant, an acknowledged drug dealer, stated that in 1976, he was working at a bar in Rome. A few days before the murder, a man associated with the bar asked the informant to pull a burglary. He took the informant to the Gryziec home and told him that they had a large amount of money there. However, the informant refused to help him. The case was soon re-activated and the new investigators found several witnesses who believed that they had seen the killers.
The Gryziecs' neighbor, Amy Scott, told the police that around 11pm on the night of the murder, she let her dogs outside. She then saw a man walking through the alley towards the Gryziec home. About a half hour later, when she let her dogs back inside, she saw the same man return to a white Lincoln Continental. It then sped down the street, almost hitting her dogs. A few days later, she was at a bank's drive-thru when she looked in her rearview mirror and saw the men again. She left the bank and they followed her for several blocks until she went to the police station.
Amy led investigators to Patsy Peck, a local bookstore owner. She told them that on the day before the murder, two men matching the killers' descriptions came into the store. They appeared to be friends with her husband. She told investigators that she had given the police this information back in 1976, but the original investigators did not record this.
Shortly after the murder, a witness reported seeing the two men at a local bar. They had met with another individual (the witness's friend) at the back. He gave them an envelope with a large sum of money. They then left the bar. The person that gave them the money claimed that they had done a "job" for him and that they had to leave town.
Stanley's family speculates he may have known too much about unsavory activities taking place at a local bar formerly owned by his deceased brother, Peter. It was the same place where the informant had worked and the two men were seen at shortly after the murder. It had its liquor license revoked in 1982 due to onsite gambling and illegal selling of controlled substances. Prior to Peter's death, Stanley had visited him and they had a secret conversation behind closed doors. After the conversation, they never spoke again. Stanley never revealed what was said to him. Peter died four months later.
To date, the killers remain unidentified and Stanley's case remains unsolved. Police would like to locate a former employee of the bar named Chuck Bucrzinski, who is a material witness in the case. He jumped bail in 1977 while on trial for drug charges.

Composites of Stanley's killers

Suspects: Two composites were made of the suspected killers. One is described as a tall, dark-haired white male. The other is described as a shorter, stockier white male with sandy hair. Several witnesses reported seeing the killers both before and after the murder. However, they have never been identified.
An informant later came forward, claiming that a man had asked him to burglarize the Gryziec home. The man is considered a possible suspect in the case.
The informant worked at a bar where a witness reported seeing two men matching the killers' description shortly after the murder. A man gave them money, allegedly as payment for the murder. The bar's liquor license was owned by Stanley's brother Peter. It has been suspected that Stanley was killed because he knew too much about illegal activity related to the bar.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 10, 1990 episode.
Results: Unsolved. As a result of the broadcast, investigators received more than 300 tips about the case. In January 1991, thanks in part to the viewer tips, investigators announced that they had a prime suspect in the murder. They believe that the suspect hired the two men to kill Stanley because he knew too much about the illegal activities occurring at the bar. However, the investigators did not have enough evidence to charge the man with the murder, as several of the key witnesses had either moved away or died. According to one source, the suspect has since died. The case remains officially unsolved.