Cops seek potential witness in Hyde Park woman's slaying

NEWS 12 WESTCHESTER: Police are investigating the death of Laurie Ferguson, whose car was missing at the scene. (Nov. 23, 2012)

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State Police on Saturday released a sketch they hope will lead to a break in the slaying of a Hyde Park woman who was found stabbed several times in her trailer.

A forensic sketch of a potential witness to the killing of Laurie B. Ferguson, 67, released by State Police shows a man with a full beard, thick eyebrows and a thick head of slicked-back hair. The man, police said, is about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and was accompanied by another man and a young girl, who had dark hair and wore a dress.

The man was spotted about a mile and a half from the murder scene, on Reservoir Road in Staatsburg, near where Ferguson's 2006 Saturn Ion was found late Friday, police said. Ferguson's car had been missing, and police presume that it had been stolen by the person who killed her. Police have since searched the car for evidence, but would not discuss what they found.

Investigators have "no indication" who the man is, and State Police Lt. Dominick Chiumento said authorities do not consider him a suspect. Their first task, he said, is to determine whether the man "was there legitimately." From there police hope to find out if the man knows anything about Ferguson's death.

Chiumento would not say how police developed the description used for the sketch.

Police found Ferguson's body on Thanksgiving inside the trailer where she lived at Hyde Park Mobile Manor off Route 9G.

"We had a 911 call from somebody who tried to check on her because she didn't show up for another engagement," said Chiumento. He refused to provide more details about the person who reported Ferguson missing.

Ferguson, who was married but estranged from her husband, lived alone in her trailer, Chiumento said. Nothing was stolen from her home. Police haven't recovered the murder weapon, which they believe was a knife.

Ferguson has family in the area, including a son, daughter and grandchildren. She was a former food service worker at Haviland Junior High School in the Hyde Park Central School District, according to an obituary for her.

The obituary described her as "an avid reader, a fabulous seamstress and a lover of animals." Ferguson, who was born in Hyde Park and graduated from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, was a member of "Purl Jam," a knitting and crocheting club that meets at the Staatsburg and Tivoli libraries.

A memorial service for Ferguson is slated for 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

As investigators look to piece together the circumstances surrounding Ferguson's death, they've appealed to the public to provide clues.

Anyone with information on the homicide can call the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 845-876-4049, or 845-677-7300.

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