Blown Up By The Side of The Road: Who Murdered Carol Ryan?

As another anniversary of the horrific killing slips by, police are once again appealing for information that could crack the case.

Verity Partington
5 min readSep 2, 2022


Carol Ryan (Image: Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities in the New York city of Syracuse are once again talking about one of their most shocking ever cold murder cases in the hope that someone might lead them to the vital piece of evidence that helps them solve it.

September 1st 2022 marked 26 years since 42-year-old Carol Ryan was left for dead near the Jamesville Reservoir in Onondaga County.

When a fisherman found her lying at the side of the road, she was so severely injured that he thought she had been shot. As she clung to life, he ran to find a phone and call 911 and then returned to wait with her until an ambulance came.

A shocking revelation

Although both he and first responders tried to ascertain what had happened to Carol, she was unable to respond due to the extent of her injuries. Despite undergoing emergency surgery, Carol died five hours later at Upstate University Hospital, Post-Standard archives record.

When medics and the police realised what someone had done to the woman whose death was now a murder case, they were aghast. Not only had she been stripped of her clothes and viciously beaten, but the perpetrator had also inserted an explosive device into her intimate area and then detonated it.

Gene Conway was a captain of investigations for the sheriff’s department in September 1996 and he said he will never forget the violence of the crime.

“For me that’s what makes it most personal. That somebody went to the extent that they took, in order to take her life,” he commented.

Thwarted by a lack of evidence

An investigation began in a bid to catch the murderer, with police trying to piece together Carol’s final movements on the night before she died. She was known to have visited the East Room bar in Eastwood followed by Pro’s Grill on Willow Street before setting off to walk home alone at around 2:00 AM.



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a