Hearing Delayed For Accused Strangler


Hearing Delayed For Accused Strangler

07/08/05
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The preliminary hearing for a New Jersey man accused of strangling his wife and dumping her body in a remote wooded area along Fire Tower Road on Tuscarora Mountain one decade ago has been rescheduled for mid-August.

Lead officer Cpl. William Baker of the Pennsylvania State Police, McConnellsburg substation, reported to the News the preliminary hearing for 51-year-old Stephen Alfred Vanderbeek, formerly of 33 Corsa Terrace, Apt. 11A, Ridgewood, N.J., has been delayed. The July 6 hearing to be held before Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott was rescheduled last week and is tentatively slated for August 12 at 1 p.m.

Vanderbeek, who is charged in the 1995 murder of Cynthia Louise Vanderbeek, was held in the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, N.J. without bail Monday, June 27, when he waived extradition. According to Cpl. Baker, Vanderbeek voluntarily returned to Pennsylvania and was immediately arraigned upon his return before District Judge Mellott on charges of first- and third-degree murder and aggravated assault. Present during the arraignment proceedings were Cpl. Baker and fellow investigating officer Cpl. Roger Smith of the Bedford barracks.

As the case involves a possible homicide, Vanderbeek was ordered to be lodged in the Bedford County Prison without bail. Vanderbeek has not maintained a permanent address since 1999 nor has he kept a driver's license, steady employment record or tax records. As a result, the former boat-cleaning supply salesman has requested to be represented in court proceedings by a public defender.

Cynthia "Cindy" Vanderbeek was first reported missing to authorities in Montgomery County, Md., by family members in March 1995. She was last seen in Hunter, N.Y., on March 22 with her husband while travelling from a boat show in Portland, Maine, to their home in Florida.

Her body, concealed with brush, was not found until May 1 by off-duty Pennsylvania State Police officer Sean Flaherty. An autopsy on Cindy Vanderbeek's body determined her death actually occurred between March 27 and April 10.

A DNA comparison conducted years later in December 2004 utilizing one of Cindy Vanderbeek's teeth determined the 47-year-old woman's true identity. Investigators were also aided in their search for answers by doenetwork.org, a missing persons Web site centered on unidentified victims and unexplained disappearances.

Stephen Vanderbeek originally told his wife's family as well as police that he and Cindy had been working together as product vendors travelling to various boat shows around the eastern United States. Cindy worked a clothing line that had a "Hook & Tackle" emblem on its shirts, while he sold boat-cleaning products. While en route from Portland, Maine, to Maryland for a scheduled visit with Cindy's family, she allegedly received a phone call from a unnamed friend asking for help. He added that he dropped his wife off at the train station in Philadelphia to catch a train to Chicago and then on to Wisconsin.

He later told police that he met Cindy during the second week of April in Orlando and received a voice message from her on their May 21, 1995, anniversary date. The message would have been received three weeks after her body was discovered in Fulton County.