30 years later, Monson murder remains a mystery

Julie Monson / family file photo

3 0 years ago, an 18-year-old Julie Monson was kidnapped and murdered. The mystery surrounding her death still haunts the City of Auburn.

Over the years, the story has taken many twists and turns. Monson was last seen getting into a car on September 28th, 1981. Her body was discovered two years later near the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Authorities convicted an aquaintance, Thomas Bianco, of the murder in 1986.

Bianco was released from prison in 1992 after a judge determined that crucial evidence pointing to another suspect was withheld from Bianco's defense team. That judge also called for an investigation into how authorities at the time handled the investigation and prosecution, but nothing came of his request.

After Bianco's release, attention focused on a convicted sex offender, John Grossman who was already serving time for an unrelated crime. Grossman was allegedly the last person seen with Julie Monson. Though then District Attorney James Vargason described Grossman as the prime suspect, he has not been charged with the murder. Grossman was released from prison last year and now lives in Rochester as a registered sex offender. He could not be reached for comment.

Current Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann says hairs discovered along with Monson's are at the FBI laboratory in Washington for DNa analysis and results are still pending.

In answer to critics, who claim the investigation has been dragging on for too long - Budelman says , "I've got one shot at the killer."

Under the law, Budelman needs to make a solid case against the murderer. He points out, while there is no statute of limitations on the crime of murder, defendants are protected against "double jeopardy," in which they cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

Meanwhile, people in Auburn are being asked to turn on their porch lights this week, and there is a Facebook page devoted to the memory of Julie Monson.

In addition, Aurburn resident and amateur sleuth, Bob Schillagi who has researched the murder mystery for more than a decade feels local authorities have no desire to solve the murder. He says a new trial could expose past corruption among law enforcement in Cayuga County. Schillagi is calling for a special prosecutor. He has posted a letter to D.A. Budelmann.