JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The family of Yolanda Bindics is holding out hope that her killer will be caught and brought to justice, now 18 years after she was last seen alive.
Family members met to mark 18 years Wednesday. They released balloons and shared a cake that read “gone but never forgotten.”
“I remember when my mom got the phone call that they had not heard from Yolanda that she had not come home,” said Bindics’ niece Cynthia Bindics.
Bindics remembers the day her aunt Yolanda went missing after her shift at the Family Dollar in Fluvanna near Jamestown.
“After that it became more serious and concerning,” she said.
For Yolanda’s sister Anne Chmielewski, the pain is still raw.
“I remember getting the phone call and going on a search the next day,” she said.
Two years later in 2006, Bindics’ remains were found by hunters in a heavily wooded area in the Town of Charlotte. Her death was ruled a homicide.
This year, the day that marks the last time she was seen alive is hitting differently for this family, as there is a renewed hope her killer will be caught.
Last week, a specially designed cold case unit with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office says it has found new leads.
“We feel we’ve made significant progress,” said investigator Tom Tarpley with the Unsolved Crimes Unit. “We have developed a number of new leads. A lot of new information has been garnered and we are making significant progress in the case.”
“In the past it has been hard because we feel like we’re hitting a closed door,” Bindics said. “But now, with these two new detectives, I just feel a lot more different. I feel like things are getting better and something is actually going to come about with this.”
The family is hoping those who may know what happened to Yolanda Bindics speak up.
“We have to keep her name and her story out there,” said Chmielewski.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Unsolved Crimes Unit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Investigator Tom Tarpley at (716) 753-4578 or Tom Di Zinno at (716) 753-4579.
This story was originally published Aug. 10, by WKBW in Buffalo, an E.W. Scripps Company.