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No News on Murder

Posted on 26 September 2008

Rumors this week that police had a suspect in the Labor Day weekend murder of Jessie Burke, 100, remained unconfirmed this week. In the meantime, local police maintain they have been paying the area in North Haven greater attention.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Police Department Public Information Office said the department didn’t comment on suspects, unless they were looking for someone and were seeking the public’s help.

“We don’t disclose that type of information,” she said.

And as neighbors around Payne Avenue — where Mrs. Burke was found sitting in her den on Sunday, August 31, with a bullet wound in her head — continued to express their concern that an arrest has not been made, Southampton Town Police confirmed this week that they have had additional patrols in the area since the murder.

North Haven is part of the same sector as Noyac  — 43 — and as a result is monitored three shifts a day, seven days a week by a car dedicated to that sector, said Southampton Town Police Lieut. Robert Pearce this week. While he did confirm that there are times when the car would be pulled from the sector if it was needed in another sector, he said “never is there a time when someone would call for assistance and be told there was no one to help them.”

In the case when a car was pulled from sector 43, the car that patrols Bridgehampton, sector 42, would be called in to include Noyac and North Haven in their patrol.

Lt. Pearce said that, since the murder, the area around Payne Avenue has been receiving “additional coverage.”

“We’re telling officers to make sure they check the area, and officers have been directed to increase their presence in North Haven,” said Lt. Pearce.

In addition, he said, “some officers who reside in the area have been directed to pay attention to the area.”

Jessie Burke was found dead by her daughter, Margaret Jean Burke, who had just returned from running errands on the afternoon of August 31. The two women shared the house at 36 Payne Avenue, which is owned by the younger woman. There was no visible sign of forced entry into the house and it does not appear that anything has been stolen or removed from the house. Police have questioned family members, including Jean Burke, for background, and have removed a rifle from the house, and officers have since returned to the neighborhood to speak to neighbors.

“The extra patrols are there to make everybody feel safe,” said Lt. Pearce.

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