October 18, 2001

Employees Involved In Suicide-Murder

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Two Cornell University employees were found dead in their West Hill home early Wednesday morning, the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) reported.

The police are ruling the incident a murder-suicide, according to a news release prepared yesterday by IPD Lieutenant David J. Nazer.

Janet Breslin and her husband, Joseph Lindner, both 46, were discovered at 12:43 a.m. Wednesday with a gun shot wound to the head. Police believe Lindner shot his wife while she was asleep in their home at 315 Hector St. before shooting himself.

A rifle believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene, police reported. The time of death was estimated to be early Saturday morning after an autopsy was conducted yesterday at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y.

Breslin started working as a secretary for Cornell in 1983, according to Linda Grace-Kobas, director of the Cornell News Service.

She left the University in 1989 but returned in 1992 to become an administrative aid in the biometrics department.

Lindner began his tenure at Cornell in 1986 in a “series of administrative support positions” before working his way up to web developer in the Johnson Graduate School of Management in March, Grace-Kobas said.

Employees in the couple’s respective departments were first notified yesterday.

“Everyone there was really shocked and saddened. We’re deeply saddened in the University community,” Grace-Kobas said, noting that colleagues of Breslin and Lindner requested time to grieve before being contacted about the couple.

The couple had no children, the police reported.

The IPD responded to the home of Breslin and Lindner after an acquaintance, who had been trying to get in contact with the couple, went to the house and discovered the bodies, Nazer reported in the release.

Grace-Kobas said she did not know whether anyone in the couple’s respective departments had reported their absence from work.

“At this time, the University is providing support to anyone in their departments,” she said. Counseling is also available to faculty, staff and students at Gannett: Cornell University Health Services.

“At this time when things are already difficult, it’s really important that people don’t cope alone,” she said.

Archived article by Beth Herskovits