Police zero in on man in Auburn mother's disappearance

David McNamara / Courtesy: Cayuga Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Updated at 3:40pm Friday:

The Auburn Police Department is looking for your help to figure out what happened to Katie Socci.

Investigators are looking for information about vehicles and/or individuals seen in the area of the Auburn-Fleming Trail (Nature Trail) area off Dunning Avenue. Police want to hear from anyone who walked the trail, or parked in the area between Sunday, June 12th and Wednesday June 15th.

If you were in the area, or saw anything in the care during that time frame, call Auburn Police at (315) 253-3231 or Sgt. Divietro at (315) 255-4707. Calls can remain anonymous.

Socci's body was found in a shallow grave off Dunning Avenue on Wednesday afternoon.

Updated at 1:25pm Friday:

David McNamara is scheduled to be in court on Monday on charges unrelated to the death of Katie Socci.

McNamara is being held right now on a probation violation for walking into a bar. He was on probation for a forgery conviction. While working as a nurse in 2007, he was charged with withdrawing prescription drugs for personal use. He was censured by the New York State Office of Professional Disciplines. He pleaded guilty to forgery and was placed on probation. McNamara's court appearance deals with that charge of probation violation.

McNamara also faced charges in 2006. In Batavia, he was charged with reckless endangerment for discharging a gun. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was placed on probation.

McNamara is still considered a person of interest in Socci's death. He has not been called a suspect, or been charged in the case.

Updated at 5:40pm:

Police have ruled the death of an Auburn mother a homicide.

Investigators released an autopsy report for Katie Socci late this afternoon. According to the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office, the body found by police on Wednesday has been positively identified as 29-year-old Katie Socci. The autopsy report also lists her cause of death as "asphyxia due to strangulation and/or suffocation."

Police say there is still no arrest in the case. Socci's former boyfriend, and the father of her child, David McNamara, is considered a person of interest.

If you have any information about the case, you're asked to call Lt. Shawn Butler at 315-255-4705 or lead investigators, Det. Doug Parker at 315-255-4726 or Det. Chris McLoughlin at 315-255-4706. Your calls can remain anonymous.

Posted earlier:

We're getting our first look at the man police call a person of interest in the disappearance of an Auburn woman.

David McNamara was taken into custody on a probation violation Wednesday night.

McNamara is the ex-boyfriend of 29-year-old Katie Socci who vanished from her home on Dunning Avenue Tuesday night. He is also the father of her child.

On Wednesday afternoon, police found a body under "freshly turned dirt" near a nature trail not far from her home. They believe it is the body if Socci, a nurse at Upstate University Hospital, but they are waiting on the autopsy to be completed for verification. Auburn police tell CNY Central they could get the autopsy results as early as today, which will hopefully shed light on how she died.

Neighbors became suspicious Tuesday when Socci's dogs were seen barking outside her home. Police later arrived and entered through an unlocked door to find Socci's 18-month-old daughter sleeping inside alone.

At this point, police are not calling this a homicide, but rather a death investigation as they await the autopsy results.

The District Attorney says McNamara admits to being at Socci's house on Tuesday. Witnesses also tell police they saw his car there.

McNamara was taken to the City of Auburn Court last night and arraigned before Judge Michael McKeon on the violation of probation charge. He was previously convicted of forgery in a separate case.

At this point, McNamara is only being labeled as a person of interest in Socci's disappearance. He has not been charged in her death.

He was sent to the Cayuga County Jail without bail pending his reappearance in court on Monday.

Meanwhile, family, friends and neighbors of Katie Socci are waiting for answers about just what happened and why. For now, her daughter is being cared for by family members.

Socci's coworkers at the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Upstate University Hospital released a statement Thursday, saying we "wish to convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Katie Socci. Katie was a treasured member of our Surgical Intensive Care Unit family, and we are devastated by her death. She brought so much sunshine to our unit, and our hearts and prayers are with her family at this sorrowful time. We love and miss her, and will always remember Katie as a true friend and dedicated nurse."

Stay with CNY for updates throughout the day.