LOCKPORT – Heather M. Rylowicz, the North Tonawanda woman found dead in her home Nov. 21, may have died as early as Nov. 2, prosecutors revealed Thursday as her boyfriend was arraigned on murder charges.
Brian C. Lowry, 32, of Ypsilanti, Mich., who had started a relationship with the victim during the summer, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, five counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and single counts of third-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.
Deputy District Attorney Holly M. Sloma said the alleged murder weapons were a knife and a sledgehammer, and the weapons possession counts refer to those items.
Her colleague, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello, said the third-degree grand larceny count and one of the fourth-degree counts pertain to the theft of Rylowicz’s car. The other four grand larceny counts accuse Lowry of stealing the woman’s credit cards, and the petit larceny charge relates to the theft of her cellphone.
The grand jury indictment says all the crimes allegedly occurred between Nov. 2 and 21.
An autopsy showed Rylowicz died of a combination of blunt and sharp trauma to the head and neck, Sloma said.
The 34-year-old woman’s body was decomposing when it was discovered the day before Thanksgiving.
“When they went upstairs, the blood the officer saw was already dry,” said Lowry’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer.
Neighbors called police after noticing that the woman hadn’t been seen for about two weeks, her car was missing, and her mail was piling up. They saw only her dog in the window.
Lowry was arrested Nov. 24.
Asked if the couple had a history of domestic violence, Sloma said, “I am not aware of any reported incidents, meaning reported to law enforcement, between the two of them.”
However, a neighbor told The Buffalo News on Thanksgiving Day that he had heard arguments between Rylowicz and her boyfriend during late summer.
“I have the best girlfriend (Heather) in the world!!” Lowry wrote on his Facebook profile. In a Sept. 10 post, Lowry wrote, “I LOVE YOU MY PRINCESS HEATHER!!!”
The victim’s father, Frank Rylowicz, and her brother, Douglas Rylowicz, came from Chautauqua County to attend the brief arraignment before State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr.
They said Heather had been raised in Brocton and lived with her husband in Niagara Falls in 2006 and 2007 before they divorced.
The men said Heather met Lowry in June or July, and they met him at the Erie County Fair in August and also on a few visits he and Heather made to Brocton.
“He was quiet, kept to himself,” Douglas Rylowicz said.
He added, “He seemed to be kind of possessive, the kind of possessiveness you have when you’re in love. He always had his arm around her.”
Kloch ordered Lowry held without bail in the Niagara County Jail, pending a March 7 pretrial conference and a tentative trial date of June 17.