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“Senseless.” Community mourns death of SUNY Potsdam student

A Putnam County community is grappling with the heartbreaking death of a college student as police try to put the pieces together of her murder.

News 12 Staff

Feb 22, 2022, 12:07 PM

Updated 851 days ago


A Putnam County community is grappling with the heartbreaking death of a college student as police try to put the pieces together of her murder.
Elizabeth Howell was a graduate of Brewster High School, and many in the area who knew her say she had a bright future ahead of her.
The 21-year-old was an accomplished cellist studying music education at SUNY Potsdam in upstate New York, and she was set to graduate in just a few months.
According to investigators, Howell was found just before 6 p.m. on Friday on a road just off campus. She was unconscious and had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
She was rushed to the hospital, but died a short time later from her injuries.
The next day, police arrested Michael Snow, 31, of Massena, New York. Police released a photo of the car they say Snow was driving on the day of the murder, a gray Honda Civic with the license plate KVE2731 and with damage to the driver's door. State police are asking anyone who may have seen the car in the area of the day of the murder to contact them at (518) 873-2750.  Snow is now charged with second-degree murder.
Police are still trying to determine the circumstances around the shooting. College officials say Snow has no connection to the school, as a student, employee or graduate.
In the meantime, those who knew Elizabeth Howell as Beth from this area are heartbroken. "No family, no parent should ever lose a child, and in such a senseless manner, we're still trying to wrap our heads around it," says Kim Carmody, a neighbor.
Brewster teachers are taking to Facebook to give condolences saying:
"We are deeply saddened by the news that a former student of ours, Elizabeth "Beth" Howell was tragically killed on Friday night in Potsdam. She was a 2018 graduate. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and all who had the privilege to teach, coach and know her."
Howell was known as Beth at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where she and her family attended Mass. Now parishioners are praying for the Howell family during this terrible time. "She volunteered with the ROTC, with our Ladies Auxiliary for the VFW, collecting food and coats, doing the AmVet breakfast. Any time you asked her to volunteer, she would," says Maureen Lerner, of Sacred Heart Church.
SUNY Potsdam says an open musical reading session will be held Wednesday night to give students and faculty at the Crane School of Music a chance to express their grief through music. The school says they will work with the Howell family to plan a full memorial concert and other memorial events later in the semester.

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