Investigators shift focus in Sodus homicide case; schools to resume Wednesday


    Deputies said Joshua Niles, 28, and Amber Washburn, 24, were killed in the shooting by a suspect who remains at large. (Photo: Provided)

    Sodus, N.Y. (WHAM) - Wayne County Sheriff's deputies have begun to scale down search efforts for the suspect accused of killing a Sodus couple on Monday afternoon.

    Deputies said Joshua Niles, 28, and Amber Washburn, 24, were killed in the shooting by a suspect who remains at large.

    Both were shot in the driveway of a home on Carlton Street in the village of Sodus. Our news partners at the Times of Wayne County said Washburn's five-year-old son, who has autism, was in the car with her during the shooting but was uninjured. He was reportedly removed from the car later.

    According to Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, the search for the suspect in the double homicide continued throughout the night and into Tuesday morning with no sight of him yet. He added that there are children in the family and they are being cared for by relatives.

    Schools in Sodus remain closed Tuesday due to the large police presence and search, but will resume on Wednesday. Officers and deputies will maintain a presence in the village "as long as it is necessary," according to Sheriff Virts.

    Teams of officers and deputies have been combing through people's backyards with K9s throughout the morning and afternoon.

    Many parents are staying home with their children as school is cancelled.

    "I'm waking up and they still haven’t got this person," said Ann Devries, who lives on the street. "It's an eerie feeling. it makes me nervous. Sometimes at night, my son and I will have fires in the backyard, or him and I just hanging out and now it's just creepy. Because it was right there."

    Sheriff Virts said the search overnight allowed deputies to clear any of the suspicious areas of concern that were reported by citizens. Drones and helicopters are being brought in by New York State Police and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office says it hopes to allow people living in the Sodus and East Williamson community to go back to normal by the early afternoon.

    Sheriff’s deputies will continue to spread out across the neighborhood for information related to the incident. Investigators are beginning to shift from collecting evidence and searching for the suspect to submitting evidence for forensic analysis and following up on leads.

    Anthony Mancine, who lives just feet away from where this happened, said he called 911 after witnessing the shooting.

    “I heard what I thought was fireworks and then saw the person going over and I could see his body jerking from the bullets," Mancine said. He spoke emotionally about it, saying he is questioning everything and wondering if he could have done anything differently to help police.

    "If I would’ve just started screaming maybe the person would’ve not taken off," Mancine said. "The girl would still be alive, you don’t know. And those are things that are going to haunt me."

    According to investigators, they believe Niles and Washburn were targeted and the general public is not at risk. Deputies have reached out to the Williamson Central School District to answer questions presented by concerned parents.

    If anything seems suspicious or unusual, deputies urge people living in the area to follow the “See something, say something” model and call 911.

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