RPD confirm identity of missing man found at Rowley Street home, owner charged

Posted at: 01/16/2014 10:10 AM
Updated at: 01/16/2014 11:38 PM

A trendy neighborhood is shaken up by a police investigation. Hours after investigators first showed up at a home in the Park Avenue area, there are still many unanswered questions. 

News10NBC has been following this investigation since it first unfolded Wednesday night. It's been nearly 24 hours since police first converged on a house on Rowley Street..

Traffic is now being allowed on the street. Police were called to the home at 27 Rowley Street between eight and nine Wednesday night. Police say they found human remains in the backyard. 

The Rochester Police Department has confirmed Thursday night, that the remains are those of the 31-year-old Matthew Straton. He went missing in October. His family says a previous check of his cell phone showed that it last pinged in the Monroe Avenue area, just blocks away from where the body was found.

A source close to the investigation told News10NBC that police got a call from an unidentified lawyer Wednesday night. The lawyer told police that his client had information about a body buried in a backyard on Rowley Street. 

News10NBC got a bird's eye view of the back yard from the third floor of an apartment building. From ground level through a fence, News10NBC could see bright evidence flags. That's where police found the remains. The family of missing man, Matthew Straton, says they were contacted by police and the family says the remains belong to Matthew. Matthew's brother came to the scene to talk  to News10NBC.

Jeremy Straton, brother of Matthew Straton, said, “Right under our noses. We never thought he'd be this close to home. We didn't know where to look. We had search parties in the river. We knew something had to have happened to him, but we didn't know where to look anymore."

Who is the owner of 27 Rowley Street?

As a result of the investigation, Rochester Police also confirmed, that the owner of the house, 62-year-old William Lewek has been charged.

Lewek is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and tampering with physical evidence. Both of these are felonies. 

He will be arraigned Friday morning in Rochester City Court at 9:30am. 

Lewek is a psychiatrist who lives at this address. Records show that his primary office is located at that same address as well. He also has offices on nearby Vick Park A and another in Orleans County. News10NBC put calls to his office, but all we got was an answering service. Other associates have not returned our calls for comment.

News10NBC has learned he has an affiliation with the University of Rochester Medical Center, but the hospital says it is a loose relationship. In an email, a spokesperson says,"Dr. Lewek is not part of URMC's full time faculty and he does not admit to Strong or Highland. At various times, he has volunteered to help teach residents(which is why he has that clinical professor title), but he is not paid by the university."

News10NBC spoke today with a neighbor who says Lewek has always appeared friendly.

Tim Doherty said, "You know in passing I run and inline skate and stuff on the street and if he's on the porch, I say hello or we stop and talk or the greeting of the day or your yard looks nice. You know, that kind of thing.”

Stay with News10NBC for the latest on this investigation.