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Keli Collins was killed in her Corning apartment. An autopsy reveals how she died

The Leader
The Leader
 2022-08-10

"Ligature strangulation" has been ruled the official cause of death for 26-year-old Keli Collins following an autopsy at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

“A ligature is a thing used for tying or binding something tightly,” Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding explained.

He declined to say what specific device was used in the killing.

Collins, of Walter Smith Terrace Apartments, was allegedly strangled at her apartment in the early hours of Aug. 5 by Brett R. Heffner, 29, who also lived at Walter Smith Terrace, according to Spaulding.

Heffner was charged with second-degree murder and will reappear at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 11 in Corning City Court, according to Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker.

Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard said Heffner is currently in jail without bail.

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The Corning City Police Department, Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, and investigators from the New York State Police Major Crimes Unit continue to investigate the murder, Spaulding said. Investigators continue to interview witnesses and process evidence that will go to the State Police Crime Lab in Albany.

“I would like to thank all the people that have come forward in this case and offered information,” Spaulding said. “The alert friends and neighbors of Collins, who weren’t afraid to become involved, are the ones that made a difference. They saw something, and said something. The rapid response of law enforcement and the involvement of concerned citizens is what gave us the ability to make an arrest as quickly as we did.”

Spaulding noted that Collins' death was the first murder in the City of Corning since Gerald Early was killed a little more than two years ago. Brenda McCay, who was charged with killing Early, is expected to go to trial later this year.

This article originally appeared on The Leader: Keli Collins was killed in her Corning apartment. An autopsy reveals how she died

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