Karen Canestaro Cold Case


Forty four year old Karen Canestaro is at the center of a cold case dating back to 2013.

Canestaro’s sisters say unanswered questions remain surrounding her untimely death on the edge of Newtown Creek and they’re asking for community help as they search for closure and the truth.

Her three older sisters, Mary Courtright, Kathleen Losito and Elizabeth Muller, say they miss their sister and the scenario they find themselves in feels surreal. 

Canestaro was born and raised in Elmira. A home-maker, and mother of two, her family describes her as someone who always made friends easily. Someone who was full of life.

“Karen was a wonderful person, she was happy, she always made you laugh, made me laugh until I cried,” said Courtright.
“She was just beautiful inside and out,” said Losito. “I really miss her and it’s a rummage sale season and I miss going to rummage sales with her.”

“Her house was beautiful she loved entertaining, Karen loved entertaining,” remembered Muller. 

On Monday, May 6, 2013, this tight-knit, small town family’s world was turned upside-down and they had to learn to live without the sister they loved so dearly.

“My sister Karen was estranged from her husband at that time,” recalled Courtright. “And was living with my parents and she had come home for dinner at approximately 5 o’clock and she never came home. “She was found the following morning around 11.”

Eight months after Canestaro’s body was discovered along Newtown Creek between East 5th Street and Linden Place in Elmira,  the case was labeled a homicide. Now a cross sits at the spot she was found in remembrance of her life. 

18 NEWS reached out to lead investigating officer on the case, Ronald Gunn of the Elmira Police Department.

Gunn said the investigation is ongoing and could not comment further.

While some time has passed, with questions left unanswered, like who is responsible for Karen’s death, there’s a lot of healing left to do.

“It was just awful, I don’t really remember, I just knew I had to come home to my family,” said Muller. 

With just memories and photos remaining, this family hopes and prays for answers to emerge.

“There is just an emptiness,” said Losito. “I think she still around with us at the holidays but it’s not the same.”

The family is asking the community to use the Justice For Karen Bellinger-Canestaro Facebook page, or the tip line/email address below, if anyone has any information that could lead to more answers in this ongoing investigation.

607-271-4258 TIP LINE


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