Litter from vehicle led to suspect
Rivenburgh questioned before women's bodies found
ROTTERDAM The man being held in connection with the killing of a Rotterdam mother and daughter was spoken to by police early Wednesday, hours before the bodies were discovered, a Rotterdam police spokesman confirmed Friday.
At about 6:15 a.m. — about four hours before the bodies of Tammy and Jessica McCormack were discovered in their home on Inner Drive — police spoke with Brice C. Rivenburgh at his home on Oaklawn Avenue, police spokesman Lt. Michael Brown said.
An officer in the Inner Drive area spotted someone in a black automobile stopping in front of a neighboring house and throwing something out. Brown declined to identify what was thrown from the car, but said that material led the officer directly to Oaklawn Avenue and a conversation with Rivenburgh. Oaklawn Avenue is located off Curry Road, about two miles from Inner Drive, a residential area off Hamburg Street.
The evidence, however, did not prompt police to go to the McCormack house at 1142 Inner Drive; the officer had no reason to knock on the McCormacks’ door, Brown said.
“[The officer] spoke with him for several minutes,” Brown said of the conversation with Rivenburgh. “At that point, the officer was not aware of what had taken place at Inner Drive, and the conversation was brief.”
With nothing further to act upon, Rivenburgh was allowed to enter his home.
Shortly after 10 a.m., Tammy McCormack’s son, Brad, acting on an inquiry from the Schenectady City School District, where his mother worked, went to the home and discovered enough in the first floor of the home to call police. When police arrived, they discovered the bodies of Tammy and Jessica McCormack in separate second-floor bedrooms.
With Rivenburgh placed directly near the home only hours earlier, the investigation quickly turned to him.
“He was someone that we wanted to talk to,” Brown said.
Police caught up with Rivenburgh again about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the 2501 Oaklawn Ave. residence he shared with his mother. His arrest was announced Thursday morning.
Rivenburgh, 28, now faces one count of first-degree burglary connected to the deaths. Further charges are pending, possibly coming from a grand jury investigation.
The burglary count connects Rivenburgh directly to the home and injuries suffered by the women, according to court papers accusing him of unlawfully entering and causing two people inside physical injury. The paperwork gives a wide estimate on when the acts happened, one that stretches beyond the police interaction with Rivenburgh. The document estimates the burglary to have happened between 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Also Friday, police confirmed the identities and ages of the women killed as being Tammy A. McCormack, 52, and Jessica F. McCormack, 22. Funeral arraignments have yet to be finalized.
Autopsies have ruled the deaths homicides, though police have declined to disclose the exact causes of death.
A neighbor called both the mother and daughter great people, friendly to everyone. Tammy McCormack was a human resources specialist for the Schenectady City School District, while her daughter was a graduate of Mohonasen schools who attended Schenectady County Community College and later the University at Albany. Jessica McCormack made the dean’s list at SCCC in the spring and fall of 2010.
Brad McCormack owns Lyle’s Hoagies on upper State Street in Schenectady. He took over the business after his father Keith’s death from a heart attack in 2009.
Forensic investigators remained at the Inner Drive home Friday, focusing at one point on a vehicle in the driveway. Police have since left Rivenburgh’s home. Brown said investigators could be finished at Inner Drive by today.
Brown declined to comment on anything found in the home. He did say a fire department call to the address was generated after the 10 a.m. alert to authorities from the Inner Drive address. Firefighters left after a brief stop.