Update (4:50 May 12): Tompkins County District Attorney Matt Van Houten announced on Friday that Larry Walrad is being accused of committing Murder in the Second Degree in connection with the murder of Joseph West in March 2023. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

Update (2:55 p.m. May 12): Larry Walrad has been taken into custody in Candor and is being arraigned, though it is unclear what exactly he is being charged with currently. Sheriff Derek Osborne said a press release will be issued after his arraignment.

Original Story (May 10):

LANSING, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death of a 71-year-old man who was discovered deceased on March 5 a homicide.

The deceased man, Joseph F. West, Jr., of Ithaca, was found the morning of March 5 at a Mill Street address in the Town of Lansing. All unattended deaths are investigated as theoretically suspicious until proven otherwise, and two weeks after the discovery police announced they were officially treating the death as suspicious.

Sheriff Derek Osborne did not release much more information about the death itself.

“Due to the circumstances that were observed by the responding deputies, the Criminal Investigation Division was contacted as well as the Tompkins County Medical Examiner’s Office,” Osborne wrote in an announcement.

Osborne said the autopsy was conducted by Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y. Undersheriff Jennifer Olin said more information on the circumstances of West’s death could not be released in order to avoid compromising the investigation.

In addition, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office is seeking a person of interest in the case named Larry Walrad, Jr., a 52-year-old man from Lansing. Police did not say Walrad’s connection to West, but asked that if someone has a real-time location for Walrad to call 911 to report it.

It was not made clear if Walrad is considered dangerous, though Undersheriff Jennifer Olin said in March that there was no threat to the general public from the situation. Olin added on Wednesday that the police have been unable to corroborate Walrad’s location, which is why they are asking for the public’s help.

Archives show that Walrad was sentenced to five years in state prison for assaulting a woman in 2015.

A picture of Walrad is included below.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief at The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.org.