By Elise Haley aka Crime Shark
It was October 24, 2011 when just before 5pm, it began to rain in the small town of Potsdam, NY. Potsdam, split in two by the St. Lawrence River, sits nestled in northern tip of NY about 40 minutes from the Canadian border. Without counting its student population, Potsdam has a population of about 9,600.
Garrett Phillips, age 12, was playing basketball at the middle school when he spoke with his mom on his cellphone and she told him to go home and do homework. School surveillance cameras show Garrett leaving the parking lot on his skateboard at 4:52pm. A little over 30 minutes later, at 5:33pm, Garrett was found strangled in his apartment. Garrett was taken to nearby Canton-Potsdam Hospital, which he had just skateboarded by, where he was pronounced dead at 7:18 pm.
A bent window screen and a gash in the grass below the window suggests the murderer escaped by jumping out the 2nd floor window. The lone suspect in the case was Oral “Nick” Hillary who was the ex-boyfriend of Tandy Cyrus, Garrett’s mother. Hillary is also the former soccer coach at Clarkson University.
Little viable evidence was found at the scene. In August of 2016, a Judge denied evidence using STRMix, which was new DNA technology, to be admitted into the trial. After a two-week long trial, Hillary was acquitted.
If you or anyone you know has any information in the strangulation death of Garrett Phillips, please contact Potsdam authorities at 315-265-2121.