BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The victim of a savage murder in Orleans County could have been almost anyone in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Kathleen Byham, an artist who just her PhD in art this year, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Byham's father, Scott Byham, didn't want to be on camera, but told News 4 he hopes that 24-year-Luis Flamenco gets the same mercy in court that as his daughter was was shown in that Albion Wal-Mart parking lot Sunday night.
Byham resisted giving up her keys in an apparent carjacking attempt and was stabbed to death. As she lay bleeding, Kevin Smith says Wal-Mart employees prevented him from helping her, even after the attackers left.
"And I said, 'Well, let me do something, CPR at least, help her until the ambulance. And he said, 'No, I want everybody back away from her.' So there was nothing I could do. I wanted to help her. We were standing there because they were telling us not to touch her," said Smith.
Albion resident Ted Zahniser said, "I think we're just tired of it all."
This is the third murder in Albion this year. One is unsolved and in the other two, the suspects are illegal aliens. Neighbors say Flamenco lived on East State Street only for the past month with about eight others, but for now, no one is allowed to live om the home. The sign on the door reads, "Not to occupied until a certificate of occupancy is granted." Luis Flamenco was actively employed by Panec Farms in Albion.
"You know, most of them want to do their job, work. I mean, obviously there's a small bad element getting past the borders and that's just a byproduct of our policies at our borders," said Albion resident Bill Dezran.
Zahniser said, "I've worked side-by-side with those guys and a lot of them are good people. They're just trying to make a living."
Flamenco had been wanted on an outstanding parole warrant from Georgia, and had also got in trouble in Medina last month, but police couldn't say the nature of those cases. As for the claim that good Samaritans were kept from helping her, we have not been been able to verify who that would've been.
Dianna Gee, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, released this statement:
"It's really unfortunate that someone would provide such inaccurate information on something as serious as this. Our local management team has reviewed the video and talked with associates directly involved at the time of the incident, the facts do not support the allegations being made.
"This is a horrific tragedy for the family as well as the community we serve. We extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Byham‘s family and friends for their loss."
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