Bath Police Give An Update On A 1973 Crime

October 27, 2020

From Bath Police Chief Chad Mullen:

The Village of Bath Police Department is re-opening the missing persons case of Barbara J. Aleksivich, dating back to October 3rd of 1973. At the time of her disappearance, Ms. Aleksivich was 24 years old and was described as a white female with hazel eyes, brown hair, 5 foot 6 inches, and 140 pounds. Ms. Aleksivich was last seen on October 3rd of 1973, leaving the Bath Elks Club at approx. 10:45 pm. She was reported as wearing a white blouse, blue and white plaid skirt, a green pullover sweater, and brown loafers.

The reopening of this case is pre-dominantly stemming from a cold case homicide investigation in Missoula County, Montana. Inv. Taft of the Bath Village Police Department was recently contacted by Susan Lane of the Missoula County cold case unit. Inv. Taft was notified of a DNA match from a male that lived in Bath, NY at the time of the homicide their department is investigating. The homicide occurred in February of 1974 involving the kidnapping of 5 year old Siobhan McGuinness, that led to her physical and sexual assault and then eventual murder.

The male is identified as Richard W. Davis, born November 7th of 1941. Mr. Davis lived on Mail Route Road in the Town of Bath, where he started building his house in 1966. It is reported that he left the area, eventually returning for the years of 1971-1977. Mr. Davis worked at the old Polly-O Dairy in Campbell, NY and was a part-time security guard for Burns Detective Agency assigned to Taylor Winery on the night shift. Mr. Davis then moved to Arkansas where he lived his life and died approx. 8 years ago.

In June, 1973 Richard Davis tried coercing an 8 year old girl into his truck. At the time, the young girl was walking from Hatfield’s store on Gansevoort St. to East Steuben St. in the Village of Bath. This was investigated by the Bath Police Department and Mr. Davis admitted to the incident but would not admit to having any ill intent.

In March of 1976, Mr. Davis was arrested in the Town of Bath for Endangering the Welfare of a Child, for which he pled guilty and was fined $25. Due to the age of the incidences and the purging of records over the years, it is believed that Mr. Davis was involved with picking up several young teenage runaways, whom he would then take back to his house.

Without the assistance of the FBI’s Forensic Genetic Genealogy Team in Los Angeles, California diligently working with new technology and familial DNA, Mr. Davis would never have been tied to the Montana homicide and in turn named as a suspect in the Barbara Aleksivich case here in Bath. The FBI and Missoula County Detectives traveled to Arkansas to conduct detailed interviews with the Davis family and built a timeline of Davis’ travels and whereabouts in the 1974 timeframe.

The FBI’s Violent Crime Apprehension Program (ViCAP) has issued releases on Richard Davis to law enforcement with his timeline and further relevant information to assist other jurisdictions with cold cases that may be attributable to Davis. ViCAP will also release information to all law enforcement on the missing person of Barbara Aleksivich tomorrow in hopes that other agencies may have information that will help in the case. All ViCAP information is law enforcement sensitive and will not be released to the media.

Barbara Aleksivich’s familial DNA has been uploaded to ViCAP as of 2012 and any unidentified bodies or body parts can be cross referenced to it. Barbara’s dental records are also available in ViCAP. A photograph of Barbara has been included in this press release.

It is the intent of the Village of Bath Police Department to move forward with any and all new leads in the missing person case of Barbara Aleksivich, which is presumed a homicide. It is of the utmost priority of our department to help provide closure to the family by finding the truth behind Barbara’s disappearance.