Man’s suspicious death ruled a homicide

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 3:53 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A St. Lawrence County man’s death has been ruled a homicide.

The sheriff’s office says 67-year-old William Freeman was found dead Thursday afternoon in his home at 258 County Route 10 in the town of Rossie.

The cause of death was not released.

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday and results are expected no later than Monday, officials said.

The sheriff’s office said it received a call at 2:18 p.m. Thursday that a man was found dead.

A mobile command center was set up at the scene and investigators were busy working late into the night and into Friday.

Sheriff Brooks Bigwarfe said Friday there is no suspect in custody, but there are persons of interest.

“We have six to seven search warrants out there (of) several residences, vehicles, personal property, that we’re conducting as we speak,” he said.

Bigwarfe said this will be a lengthy investigation over a large geographic area.

“As of about 1 p.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office had received between 50 and 70 leads.

“Leads seem to develop more leads. So this is going to be a lengthy investigation. I can tell you that,” said Bigwarfe.

The home is near the border of Jefferson County and Bigwarfe says the resources from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be paramount in the investigation.

“Some of the information is leading into Jefferson County, some other counties,” he said.

Meanwhile, a lot of the people who live along Freeman’s road aren’t just neighbors, they’re family members. They told 7 News stories of all of the good deeds Willy, as they liked to call him, would do.

They said Freeman recently started helping out at his sister and brother-in-law’s sugar shack, and almost every morning would drive to the Oxbow Country Store. We spoke with one of the owners who was wearing a pair of earrings in his honor - a pair he would always compliment her on.

Family members also say that someone posing as Freeman called the bank where Freeman was a customer. The caller tried to change his PIN.

A relative of Freeman took the call, didn’t recognize the voice, and immediately froze the account.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 315-379-2222.

The St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Watertown Police Department and the North Country Crime Analysis Center are assisting the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.