Rachael DelTondo’s death comes just six months after the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School teacher was suspended from her job over a leaked police report that she was found in a compromising position with a teen boy
Police investigating the murder of a Pennsylvania teacher who was gunned down in her driveway have applied for a search warrant for a teenage boy whose friendship compromised her job and derailed her wedding plans,
Rachael DelTondo, still haunted by a life altering experience three years in her past, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting outside her mother’s house on Mother’s Day shortly before 11pm.
Six months earlier the 33-year-old had been suspended from her job as a teacher at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School after a February 2016 police report was leaked revealing she had been found in a ‘steamed-up’ parked car with a 17-year-old boy.
Police in Beaver County are attempting to establish suspects in the case which investigators have described as a ‘crime of passion’.
Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier said evidence appeared to show the perpetrator was known to the victim.
32-year-old teacher, Rachael DelTondo, downed in a hail of bullets on her driveway – six months into her suspension after leaked police report revealed cops caught her with 17-year-old boy in a car with steamed up windows
No suspects have been identified by police and no arrests have been made.
Sources described incident as DelTondo being killed in a “hail of gunfire”. She was struck sources say between 6 and ten times in the torso area.
DelTondo had been out getting ice cream with two friends , including the daughter of Aliquippa police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, prior to the shooting, according to multiple sources familiar with events leading up to her death.
After getting ice cream at a local Circle K convenience store, sources say friends had dropped off the teacher at her parents’ home where she was living,
gunfire then erupted, minutes later. DelTondo never had a chance.
Rachael DelTondo, [left],seen with ex-fiance, Frank Catroppa [right],was standing on her mother’s driveway in Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA on Sunday when she was killed in a hail of gunfire
Beaver County authorities issued a search warrant on May 14 for 20-year-old Sheldon Jeter Jr. in the investigation of Rachael DelTondo. Jeter is the boy she with her in a parked ‘steamed up’ car on February 6, 2016.
Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins and another officer found a 30-year-old teacher with Jeter who was then aged 17, in the stationary vehicle at 1:52 am, in the area of the old Aliquippa Hospital.
Aliquippa Police, is now seeking access to Jeter’s phone records and geolocation data.
According to the affidavit, DelTondo had been picked up by female friend, daughter of Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, around 8pm om Sunday night.
Watkins has been placed on paid administrative leave by Chief of Police Donald Couch because his daughter, who is a minor is involved as a witness in the case
DelTondo and her friend were seen at a local Circle K convenience store.
The pair reportedly, then visited a friend before DelTondo returned to her parents’ home to change her clothes at 9.20pm.
Ten minutes later, the two women left in Watkins’ car and picked up Tyrie Jeter, brother of Sheldon Jeter Jr, in downtown Aliquippa before going for ice cream at Hank’s Frozen Custard in New Brighton.
After about an hour, Watkins daughter and Tyrie Jeter dropped DelTondo off at her home and drove off together. Sources say the victim got home around 10.44pm. Reports of gunshots were made four minutes later. DelTondo suffered multiple gunshot wounds to her hands, side, and torso
Sheldon Jeter said he last saw DelTondo hours earlier when she was at Circle K convenience store [photo], with Sgt. Watkin’s teen daughter.
Rachael DelTondo and her friends drove to get ice cream and was dropped back off at her parents’ home at 10.44pm. She was standing in the drive [photo], when the gunshots rang out, four minutes later
Investigators have established that DelTondo was hanging out with her teen female friend, who is the daughter of Aliquippa police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, around 8pm on Sunday night. According to police sources Tyrie Jeter confirmed that he had gone to Hank’s Frozen Custard with the two women and that victim was dropped outside her parents’ home at 10.44 pm by the female friend who said she would return. He was next dropped off on Main Street, Tyrie told police.
Next comes the perplexing developments: a search of Watkin’s daughter’s phone revealed that she texted Jeter DelTondo at 10.41pm: ‘go for a walk I’ll pick you up after’.
DelTondo replies: ‘U serious?’ ‘Haha’ at 10.44pm.
Ten minutes later, she texted DelTondo ‘be there soon’ and six minutes after that ‘on my way’.
Then at 11.07pm, she tries calling Deltondo’s cell phone.
A search of Tyrie Jeter’s phone shows that at 10.07 pm, he received a message from his brother Sheldon which read: ‘Is yal there already?’
Tyrie responded: ‘Yea’. At 10.15pm,
Sheldon sent another text message to Tyrie: ‘I got left huh’, complete with six smiley face emojis.
At 10.19pm, Sheldon texted Tyrie message: ‘Who all you with’.
Then at 10.30pm, Sheldon text Tyrie: ‘Hanks closed.’
Rachael DelTondo’s [photo], with fiance Frank Catroppa in 2015. The engagement was called off a few months after she was caught in a steamed up car with a teenage boy
The three were linked by a prior law enforcement investigation by the City of Aliquippa police. When police interviewed Sheldon Jeter a day after the murder, he asked officers why they had come in for the interview. Hearing of DelTondo’s death, he showed ‘no emotion’, investigators said.
Sheldon however, told police that the last time he saw DelTondo she was with ‘white girl’, he later identified as sergeant Watkin’s daughter, at Circle K,
DelTondo told him that ‘they were going to get ice cream somewhere’, Sheldon said.
He took off as well to drop off two friends who were with him at their homes in Center Township before driving to his own home in Aliquippa – in his car, a silver Nissan.
Sheldon showed police a text message that he had sent at 9.29pm to a number – believed to belong to Rachael DelTondo – which read ‘I wont go ok.’
DelTondo told police said that ‘she didn’t want her then fiancé, Frank Catroppa [photo], know about her liaison with the teenage boy, when they caught in a compromising situation in 2015
A police review of surveillance footage from the Circle K convenience showed DelTondo arriving at the gas station in her female friend’s car.
Police were unable to locate Sheldon Jeter on the surveillance footage at the gas station.
They also believe that Sheldon’s assertion that he met with DelTondo at the Circle K to be false, according to the document.
Sheldon communicated with Tyrie about accompanying him, DelTondo and the other female to Hank’s Frozen Custard, investigators claimed in the affidavit.
So far law enforcement believe the Rachael DelTondo’s murder to be “a crime of passion.” Authorities believe that DelTondo knew her killer and do not believe it was a random act. But for the victim’s mother, police actions contributed too her daughter’s death.
Rachael DelTondo became a target of hate messages and death threats after media reports in December 2017, revealed that sensitive law enforcement database records about her leaked from the Aliquippa Police Department to an unauthorized individual. The individual[s] subsequently went public with the information.
The report led to a criminal investigation into the Aliquippa Police Department by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Aliquippa Police informed DelTondo’s mother on the night she was murdered, that an investigation by State Police related to the unauthorized release of the sensitive files had been concluded, but individuals closely connected with the investigation say it is ongoing.
DelTondo had received multiple death threats, including one promising she would not live to see the end of 2018 after she allegedly confided in friends that she was sourced for some of the investigative reporting about the records leak.
She also allegedly, cooperated with investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police and the Organized Crime Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.
Those close to her said DelTondo reported the death threats to local authorities,
Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School [photo], suspended DelTondo from her teaching position at the school after faculty and members of the media received an anonymous email in October 2017, containing the 2016 Aliquippa police incident report which implied she had inappropriate contact with a teenager, now identified as Sheldon Jeter Jr
The report stated that officers were on patrol at around 1.50am on February 6, 2016, when they saw a car parked near the old Aliquippa Hospital.
Police noted that ‘the windows were steamed over and the engine was not running.’ Inside was DelTondo and the teen.
DelTondo reportedly told officers at the time that she was talking with a ‘former student.’
but the school said records show the teen was never a registered student at PA Cyber.
She said that ‘she didn’t want her fiancé, identified as Frank Catroppa, 36, to know that she was here parked because he would get mad.’
No charges were brought against DelTondo over the incident, and police drove the teen home that evening. The report was not public knowledge until the anonymous email was sent in October last year.
The school announced they were suspending her the following month.
The leak prompted the state police investigation into Aliquippa Police, which DelTondo cooperated with.