ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) – Aliquippa’s acting police chief is recusing the department from the Rachael DelTondo homicide case.
There have been calls for an outside agency to take over the DelTondo investigation, or to remove the department from the investigation.
Acting Chief Robert Sealock said Thursday he is now pulling his officers and detectives from the case.
“The Aliquippa Police will be focusing our resources on other investigations and looking out for the safety and welfare of our citizens,” he said in a release.
“It’s probably one of the better decisions this department has made in some time,” Michael Santicola, Jeter’s defense attorney, said. “I think it’s something that should have been done at the very beginning of this case. The appearance of impropriety counts.”
DelTondo, 33, was shot to death in her parents’ driveway on Mother’s Day. So far, there have been no arrests, and police haven’t named a suspect.
To date, police have served warrants on the cellphones of at least three people: DelTondo’s on-again off-again boyfriend, 20-year-old Sheldon Jeter, her friend, 17-year-old Lauren Watkins, and Lauren’s mother, Stephanie.
“They kind of have a black eye right now. We don’t want to make it any blacker,” Santicola said. “This is gonna be a difficult case to get a conviction at this point because of how the investigation has been handled up until now.”
Additionally, police have served warrants allowing them to examine the Facebook pages of the Watkins and Jeter, and to seize some of his clothing.
More on Rachael DelTondo Murder Case:
- Who Killed Rachael DelTondo? A Timeline Of Events
- 2nd Person Questioned In Rachael DelTondo Murder Case
- Rachael DelTondo’s Ex-Fiancé Goes Public To Clear His Name, Wants Justice For Her Slaying
- Sources: Aliquippa Murder Victim, Rachael DelTondo, Was Victim Of Confidential Information Leak
- Get Marty: Rachael DelTondo’s Family Living Through Wedding Dress Nightmare, Seeks Refund
- Second Search Warrant Served In Rachael DelTondo Murder Case
- Older Brother Of Second Search Warrant’s Target Interviewed In Rachael DelTondo Case
Lauren Watkins and Sheldon Jeter’s older brother, Tyrie, were with DelTondo right before the murder. They dropped her off at her parents’ home approximately four minutes before neighbors heard gunshots.
At this point, they appear to be trying to build a circumstantial case, using cellphone records, which include calls and texts, any conversations between the key players in the case over social media, and surveillance video that might corroborate or call into question the stories of those people police have interviewed.