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On Oct. 13, 2012, Fr. Joseph Moreno was found dead in his rectory with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
It was immediately phoned in as a suicide by the man who discovered the body, Dcn. Paul Weisenburger. That theory was also unquestioningly accepted by Buffalo police as well as by the medical examiner at the time, Dr. Dianne Vertes, who conducted the initial autopsy.
But serious discrepancies began surfacing after Fr. Moreno's twin sister Susan started asking questions.
Susan Moreno: "He was compiling a dossier on what was going on in the diocese of Buffalo."
She believes her brother had enemies who didn't want their secrets getting out.
Susan Moreno: "The two motives, that if we had to pick, would be the money and the abuse."
Forensic scientist Michael Archer also weighed in, noting among other things, the botched crime scene.
My 11-year-old could've done a better job processing this scene. The Buffalo Police Department made a real mockery of this. If you're the crime scene technician, you're going to get these stuck in your face in a courtroom, saying, well isn't it a fact the pill bottle is in a different spot. How do you explain that? You can't explain why the gun is moved. The letters are moved. I've never seen anything like this.
Michigan Detective Brian Berg agrees, noting other discrepancies.
Berg: "There's a lot of property that was stolen after his death; there's a fax machine that's missing, his desk was broken into, the safe was missing ... ."
And renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, former president of the Academy of Forensic Sciences, confirmed with Church Militant the suicide scenario is highly unlikely.
Dr. Cyril Wecht: "To think of him committing suicide, how does he do that? Just lifting the gun up and getting it over here with a crippled left hand ... and somebody says well maybe he used two hands or so on ... You've got a good right hand — aren't you going to use it?"
In spite of the overwhelming evidence for homicide, Buffalo's Democrat District Attorney John Flynn — who has deep ties to the scandal-ridden Buffalo diocese — is refusing to reopen the investigation.
John Flynn: "There's nothing that leads us to believe this wasn't a suicide."
Susan continues to fight for justice for her brother, convinced his name and legacy need to be cleared, and his murderer tracked down and held to account.
Susan: "People deserve answers. Our family deserves the truth about what happened to Joey."