By Elise Haley aka Crime Shark
On April 23, 1997, Ann Rippel, 41, was found face down in the Little Tonawanda Creek near Batavia, NY. A passing by driver noticed the body. Police believe her body was not there for long, maybe an hour, before her body was discovered. Ann was naked from the waist down, and there was duct tape around the side of her face, her neck and also near her mouth. However, she was not assaulted. The cause of death was ruled as a drowning but the manner of death is still unknown.
Ann’s sister Janet told Dateline “She could light up a room with her smile, her attitude.” Janet has never given up hope for finding answers to her sister’s death, even after 22 years. Janet told WKBW news “This isn’t some place that she would have been. Somebody left her there to die.”
So how did a woman, loved by so many, end up face down in the creek? What happened between the time when Ann was last seen at a Wilson Farms to when her body was discovered the next morning? Investigators are hopeful with the advancements in DNA testing that they may be able to catch the person responsible. If you or anyone you know has any information about the death of Ann Rippel, please contact the Genesee County Sheriff’s office at 585-345-3000.