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Family honors Greece teacher killed in 1991

by Patrice Walsh

Greece, N.Y. -- Melanie and Stephanie Kupchynsky were just two years apart. Both shared a love of music instilled in them by their parents.

Stephanie was 27 when she disappeared in 1991. She was a music teacher at Buckman Heights School in Greece. It appeared suspicious from the start because she left behind things she loved, including her violin and her bird.

There was also other evidence found in her apartment indicating she didn't leave willingly. The maintenance worker at Stephanie's apartment complex in Greece was questioned as a possible suspect. He had been fired the day she was killed and had access to her apartment.

Edward Laraby also had a criminal history and a violent past. But he was never charged with the murder until a few years ago. Greece police said they got him to confess to killing Stephanie. In return, Laraby, who had a terminal illness, asked to be buried outside prison grounds.

Laraby died Sunday. His attorney said his wishes to be buried in Monroe County will be honored. On Wednesday, murder charges against him were dropped.

District Attorney Sandra Doorley explained that because he died, this was a formality. She emphasized this doesn't mean he didn't kill Stephanie.

Doorley said she has no doubt he is the killer.  

"Laraby gave a full confession that was corroborated by evidence at the scene," she said. "Listening to him recount what he did to Stephanie, it was pure evil."

Melanie Kupchynsky said she doesn't have anger or want revenge but does still wonder how someone like Laraby, who had a violent criminal background, was hired as a maintenance worker at an apartment complex. She said her own children are now college age, and she worries as they go off to find apartments. She said she wonders if they will be safe and said someday she would like to fight for better laws to provide more background checks for workers in apartment buildings.

She said she misses her sister just as much now as she did back in 1991, but she doesn't want her remembered as a crime victim. Instead, she wants people to know how much Stephanie loved music and life.

Melanie co-authored a book to honor her father, who taught them how to play the violin, and to honor Stephanie. It's titled: "Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations."

She said that's how she wants her sister remembered. Melanie also shares stories of Stephanie with her own children. She said they would have loved her because she was such a fun person.

As for Laraby, she said she is relieved he can't hurt anyone else.

 
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