LANSING, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday it is investigating a “suspicious death” surrounding the discovery of a deceased man in a Lansing residence. Some information was released, including that police do not believe there is a threat to the general public, but the unknown details paint a murky picture.

According to a press release from Undersheriff Jennifer Olin, police responded to a residence in the Town of Lansing on March 5 for a report of a man in cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, police said they found a “male deceased in the residence.” The man was identified as Joseph West, 71, announced as living in Ithaca, NY.

The discovery was not announced at the time, though police said it was initially “reported to be an unattended death,” defined as a death where someone is found dead but nobody witnessed the death.

Now, though 10 days have elapsed since the discovery, it has been deemed worthy of further investigation.

“At this time, upon further investigation and analysis of available evidence, the death is being investigated as a suspicious death,” read the release.

It is not clear, though, what is actually suspicious about the death. The Ithaca Voice is awaiting further clarification.

“Obviously we anticipated such questions, but we can not release any further details without possibly compromising the investigation at this time,” Olin said in response to questions about the circumstances of the death and why police are treating it as suspicious. “Although we can not release additional information about the incident, we have no reason to believe there is a threat to the general public.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at