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Inside the Evidence: Rochester Army veteran killed in bedroom

Nikki Rudd
Updated: February 12, 2020 11:21 PM
Created: February 11, 2020 03:05 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Rochester Army veteran was brutally killed in his own bedroom. More than 27 years have gone by but no arrests have been made. 

Curtis Smith didn't have much, but his family says he loved to help people. They believe when he opened his door to someone in need, he let in a killer.

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Our story starts at a home on Lyndhurst Street in Rochester. Smith rented a room there. 

"Curtis Smith was killed in his own residence," Rochester Police Sgt. Dave Joseph said. 

It was Monday, Sept. 14, 1992. Smith was 36 years old. He grew up in Florida, served our country in the Army, then moved to Rochester. 

"He was stabbed twice," Sgt. Joseph said. "Once in the upper abdomen and once in the chest area."

Investigators showed News10NBC exclusive pictures from the crime scene never released before. 

"That appears to be the murder weapon there," RPD Investigator Tom Cassidy said. 

Investigators say that the knife had blood on it but no physical evidence to lead to the killer.

"He didn't have anything of real value and didn't have enemies, so to speak, in the neighborhood," said Sgt. Joseph. 

So what was the motive? News10NBC spoke with Smith's niece via Skype. Selina Swann now lives in Georgia. Her brothers were the last ones to see their Uncle Curtis alive. 

"They believe that it was a homeless person," Swann said. "They had never seen this guy before, and my uncle was trying to help him out."

They saw a homeless man in their uncle's room before the murder.

There's also another clue.

"There was a television that was stolen," Sgt. Joseph said. 

"He was actually seen after the crime with my uncle's TV in a buggy," Swann said. "Literally walking around the streets of Rochester with it."

Detectives have never been able to track that person down.

Another detail we learned?

"The suspect in this one, after the murder, used a sheet from the bed to cover the body," Sgt. Joseph said. 

"I would think that would indicate somebody who knew him or was close to him, and after this occurred it psychologically bothered them," Inv. Cassidy said.

Smith's family wants the killer caught. 

"We know he's in a better place, but we still need justice and resolve," Swann said. 

25 years after Swann's uncle was stabbed to death her own father, a beloved Kodak retiree, would be shot and killed. We'll have that part of the story next week on News10NBC. 

If you have any information on who killed Curtis Smith on Lyndhurst Street in Rochester in 1992 call Crime Stoppers at 585-423-9300. 


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