Sister Shares Memories, Grief After Bindics Murder
Margaret Queen remembers fondly the days of her youth riding bicycles with her little sister.
Being the youngest two in the family, and separated by a year in age, the pair often were confused for twins.
About once a week, Queen and her sister would ride their bikes to the store near their home in Buffalo to buy drinks at 87 cents apiece. On the way home, the two sometimes stopped at a nearby playground.
“That was one of the best times in my memory,” Queen said.
Those precious rides and other moments together took on deeper significance years later when that sister, Yolanda Bindics, went missing the night of Aug. 10, 2004.
“After she went missing I prayed and asked for a sign if she was dead,” Queen told The Post-Journal. “I got the sign, but I kept it to myself. I knew it then but I was just in denial. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew. I just remained hopeful that was not the case.
“I didn’t tell or share about the prayer — I didn’t want to crush my parents’ hopes. I just let it be.”
Bindics was 25 years old and a mother of four children when she was last seen leaving work on Fluvanna Avenue in Jamestown. Her vehicle was found the next day in a nearby parking lot.
A month later, in September 2004, Bindics’ keys, wallet and purse were recovered in the area of Monroe and Eighth streets. The items came from a drain system located about a mile south from where she worked.
Remains confirmed to be Bindics were discovered in September 2006 in the town of Charlotte. To date, no one has been charged.
Queen said her sister’s murder took a toll on the once-close family.
“We were all a tight-knit family,” she said in a recent interview. “We had a close relationship with one another. After Yolanda’s disappearance, and later death, gradually the family … kind of cracked and then became broken. It’s sad, but it is what it is.”
Queen admits to being frustrated by the investigation, first as a missing person case and later a homicide probe, due to the lack of results. Part of the problem, she understands now, was not understanding which police agency was heading the investigation — the Jamestown Police Department because she was from the city or the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office because her body was discovered in a rural part of the county.
The lack of an arrest further frustrated the family.
“We all knew she did not just take off. We knew that,” Queen said. “We knew that she was in trouble, in danger. We did not know if somebody was holding her against her will or if they had taken her life or if they just abducted her and took her far away. So we knew that she didn’t just leave.”
Much of that past frustration has turned to increasing optimism these days, buoyed by a fresh look into the case by the Sheriff’s Office and from a book she recently published chronicling her sister’s death.
“The Silent Conviction: The World Moved On, But A Sister Never Forgets” recently became available for purchase on Amazon. The 128-page book already has more than a dozen positive reviews.
Queen, who currently works as a victim services coordinator for a district attorney’s office in North Carolina, first contemplated writing a book about a year after her sister was last seen and a year before her remains were found.
“I was journaling as a form of healing, just kind of writing thoughts,” she recalled. “As one can imagine, when you have a loved one go missing, there’s an enormous amount of thoughts that cross your mind.”
Using her past journal entries as the basis for a book, Queen began writing on and off for several years. She stopped writing completely for a while amid mounting dissatisfaction with the investigation, but again took up the project around 2016.
She knew her sister’s story needed to be told; the case and lack of an arrest was largely out of the public’s mind.
After input from a friend who read an early version of the manuscript, Queen again worked on the book. Its final version was released this year.
“The purpose (of this book) is to shed light, not just on who she was,” Queen said. “The fact people don’t realize that when a loved one goes missing what the family left behind endures. It is, by far, far more excruciating than what people realize. There are thousands and thousands of missing person cases.”
She believes, in due time, there will be justice for her sister and the family.
In September, the Unsolved Crimes Unit with the Sheriff’s Office released information regarding Clarence Carl Carte, the father to Bindics’ youngest child.
Investigator Tom Di Zinno said Carte walked out of the Kwik Fill gas station located at Fluvanna Avenue and Washington Street in Jamestown at about 8:10 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2004. At the same time, Bindics was seen leaving work across the street.
Di Zinno told The Post-Journal that Carte bought soda and a lottery ticket from the Kwik Fill before leaving the store. He said the Sheriff’s Office wants to speak with anyone — a store clerk, a customer or motorist — who may have come into contact with Carte between 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2004, and 6 a.m. the following morning.
“We’re trying to close the door on this case,” Di Zinno said, “and there is a readable fact that Carte was at the Kwik Fill the night of her disappearance at approximately the same time she came out of work. It was verified, when you stand at the door (in Kwik Fill) you look at the door of the Family Dollar.”
Carte did not respond to a message sent through Facebook seeking comment.
Information regarding the Bindics case can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Tom Tarpley at 716-753-4578 or Tom Di Zinno at 716-753-4579.