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D.A. takes lashing for dodging Garrett Phillips’s mother after accidental visit

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POTSDAM — St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve is being slammed for bringing her door-to-door campaign for re-election to the home of the mother of a slain boy, but leaving before talking to the family.

Tandy Cyrus-Collins said Monday morning that she is upset with Ms. Duve and questioned her standing pledge to find the killer of her son, Garrett J. Phillips, the 12-year-old who was killed inside the family’s apartment on Oct. 24, 2011, by an unknown assailant.

“I don’t have any questions at this point anyway, but had she allowed me the opportunity, I wouldn’t be saying anything about this,” Ms. Cyrus-Collins said. “It seemed that she ran away with her tail between her legs.”

It was about 4 p.m. Sunday when Ms. Cyrus-Collins said Ms. Duve arrived at her home. She said Ms. Duve was campaigning and saw Republican district attorney candidate Mary E. Rain’s sign in her yard and stopped to see whether there were any questions concerning the campaign.

Ms. Duve, Ms. Cyrus-Collins said, was surprised to see her husband, Casey Collins, crossing the yard to meet her.

“She realized whose house she was at. She handed Casey a brochure and asked him if he had any questions and he said ‘No, but Tandy might. I can go get her,’” Ms. Cyrus-Collins posted Sunday on Facebook after the visit. “She said, ‘No, no, that’s OK,’ and she left.”

Ms. Duve would not discuss the campaign stop. She said the Phillips case is an open, ongoing murder investigation on which she could not comment.

“The individuals who have dragged the family into this political campaign have done them a disservice and are damaging the chance for ultimate justice for Garrett Phillips,” Ms. Duve said in a statement.

Ms. Cyrus-Collins said the incident has left her family questioning how important her family and her son’s case are to Ms. Duve.

“It was very odd that she had no idea whose house after two years of an open murder case. Shouldn’t she know where I live?” Ms. Cyrus-Collins said.

On her Facebook page Ms. Cyrus-Collins questioned how important her son’s case really is to the district attorney.

Ms. Rain publicized Ms. Cyrus-Collins’s private Facebook page on her own Facebook account with permission. Other Facebook users then posted comments highly critical of Ms. Duve.

Brenda Bryant-Morrow wrote: “I’m still trying to wrap my head around the callousness of Ms. Duve. What a slap in the face to Tandy. I hope that she finds justice and soon!”

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