Tonawanda News

November 24, 2012

Arrest made in NT homicide

Victim's boyfriend Brian Lowry charged with second-degree murder

By Eric DuVall
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda police arrested a Michigan native early Saturday in the slaying of his girlfriend who was found dead in her Lincoln Avenue home last week.

Brian Lowry, 32, faces a single count of second-degree murder in the death of Heather Rylowicz, 34. Rylowicz was found dead in her home Wednesday after neighbors concerned her dog was alone, her car was missing and mail was piling up on her porch called police. Officers responded and found her lifeless body left in the home for an undetermined amount of time.

Friday, North Tonawanda investigators announced they were publicly seeking to speak with Lowry, who neighbors told the News had lived with Rylowicz for some time, but they declined to call him a suspect at the time.

Citing a pending felony hearing or consideration by a grand jury, NT Police Chief Randy Szukala said the department is still withholding details surrounding Rylowicz's death and Lowry's implication in it.

"Based on the investigation and where it is at at the particular time ... it was enough to charge him with second-degree murder," Szukala said. "Can't really go into too much regarding (why)."

The victim's car remains missing, "one of the open ends of the investigation," the chief said.

Szukala said Buffalo police located Lowry early Saturday and he agreed to be transported to North Tonawanda for questioning. After that conversation, police formally charged him with Rylowicz's death. Szukala wouldn't say whether Lowry admitted he killed the woman.

Online profiles of the two individuals show they began dating in July, when Lowry changed his Facebook relationship status to "in a relationship" and told his handful of friends on the site "I'm so happy-I have the best girlfriend in the world!!"

His profile says he attended high school in Ypsilanti, Mich. It wasn't immediately clear how long he'd lived in Western New York.

Rylowicz's Facebook account shows her as a 1997 graduate of Brocton High School, south of Dunkirk in Chautauqua County. She listed her employer as Glidden Machine and Tool in Wurlitzer Drive in North Tonawanda.

Szukala said Lowry is being held without bail. Once formally arraigned he will face a felony hearing scheduled within three days. Should Lowry choose to go forward with the hearing, police and prosecutors will present the evidence justifying the second-degree murder charge in North Tonawanda City Court. Should Lowry and his as-yet-unnamed attorney opt to waive the hearing, the case will be put to a Niagara County grand jury behind closed doors for consideration of indictment.

"You don't really want to bring too much out prior to it going to the grand jury," Szukala said. "That's just the way the investigation can go. (We want to) make sure we get the indictments or go to trial. ... Unfortunately for the people who want to know the facts, we're going to have to hold back on it."

Szukala said more charges are likely once prosecutors sort through evidence and determine what other criminal offenses allegedly occurred.