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Potsdam Death Causes Fear

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POTSDAM - A 72-year-old woman was frightened Wednesday night walking down Grove Street by two young men walking on the other side of the road. The men were not doing anything out of the ordinary nor did they approach her.
But since the Monday death of Garrett J. Phillips, Groves Street resident Susan Stebbins said, she is being more cautious around the area.
"I just felt scared," Ms. Stebbins said.
A Walnut Street woman said she wants more information from the police during this investigation.
"I'd like to know what to be afraid of," said Laurie Kreider, who has a 16-year-old daughter. "I wish they would tell us."
Ms. Kreider said it's possible a murderer could be roaming around Potsdam.
"It's all so weird," she said.
Another Grove Street resident said he is surprised this happened in Potsdam.
"It's hard to believe this would happen," said Charles Cunha, a retired high school teacher. "It is normally a safe community."
Both Grove and Walnut streets are within a half mile of the North Country Manor Apartments.
In a Wednesday press conference, village Police Chief Edward F. Tischler said there are no suspects and he has not ruled the investigation a homicide.
Mr. Tischler said he hoped to get the autopsy results by Friday and has yet to release a cause of death. St. Lawrence County Coroner June Wood declined to release the cause of death.
She said she told Mr. Tischler on Tuesday night it was not from natural causes. Ms. Wood also said the family has been made aware of the cause.
A.A. Kingston Middle School Principal James M. Cruikshank said parents are sending their children to school as normal.
"The situation obviously causes concern, but we want to protect the children from undue emotional distress," Mr. Cruikshank said. "Fear is always the result anytime there's a crime. When you have a situation like this, children can't process it."
Mr. Tischler did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday afternoon. A press conference originally scheduled for Friday morning has been cancelled.
Johnson Newspapers reporter Sue Mende contributed to this report.

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