Cops: Teacher caught in inappropriate incident with teen was gunned down in ‘crime of passion’

Cops: Teacher caught in inappropriate incident with teen was gunned down in ‘crime of passion’
Police say that an Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, teacher was gunned down and murdered in a "crime of passion." Police will not say whether they currently have any suspects in the case. (Image source: KDKA-TV video screenshot)

Investigators believe that teacher Rachael DelTondo’s Mother’s Day murder was a “crime of passion.”

What’s the background?

DelTondo, 33, was shot and killed in her mother’s driveway Sunday night in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, in a hail of gunfire as she exited her car. She died at the scene.

Six months prior to her murder, DelTondo was the victim of a classified police report leak.

The police report contained information about a 2016 late-night stop that officers made, discovering DelTondo in a vehicle with a 17-year-old boy.

The report was leaked to her employer via anonymous email in October, and as a result, DelTondo was suspended from her teaching position a month after receiving the tip.

The email also reportedly contained information revealing that DelTondo was allegedly in a relationship with the teen.

KDKA-TV obtained a copy of the confidential report that noted that DelTondo was sitting in her vehicle at approximately 2 a.m. with a black 17-year-old juvenile, who was reportedly reclined in his seat. The report added that the car’s windows were all steamed up.

DelTondo told police that “she didn’t want her fiancé to know that she was here parked because he would get mad.” She was not charged in the incident, according to the report.

Several months after the incident, the wedding was called off.

Local police later launched an investigation into the information leak, with which DelTondo reportedly cooperated.

Authorities said that it is unclear whether the incident with the teenager had anything to do with her murder.

DelTondo and her family made headlines in February 2017 after a dust-up with a local bridal shop assisting in planning the DelTondo wedding.

After the nuptials were called off, DelTondo reportedly attempted to purchase the $10,000 custom wedding dress that she’d put a $4,600 deposit down on in order to resell it.

DelTondo reportedly contacted the bridal shop to tell them that she wanted to pay off the balance on the dress for resale, but she allegedly never received the dress.

The DelTondo family took the bridal shop to court and eventually the shop refunded the deposit.

What are police saying now?

Aliquippa police are now saying that they believe DelTondo knew her attacker and are considering her homicide a “crime of passion.”

New reports say that DelTondo was shot in the torso no less than 10 times, though neighbors report they heard at least 12 shots fired on that fateful night.

Police will not say whether they currently have any suspects in the developing case.

They did, however, note that they have sent DelTondo’s cellphone for examination to comb through phone calls and text messages that might be pertinent to the case.

“We could not be taking this more seriously,” Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier told KDKA. “We had a young woman, 33 years old, shot to death on the driveway of her mother’s house on Mother’s Day evening.”

He added, “We’re investigating everyone that was driving in Aliquippa that night that was anywhere near this young lady’s house.”

Anything else?

DelTondo’s ex-fiancé, Frank Catroppa, is now speaking out to clear his name.

Catroppa, who spoke to KDKA along with his attorney, said that he had nothing to do with DelTondo’s death.

“We wanted to be very, very clear publically [sic] that Frank Catroppa has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what happened,” attorney Stephen Colafella told KDKA. “And it’s important to him, and it’s important to his family that the public knows that.”

“When you’re with somebody for eight years, that’s quite some time, you just hope to see that they at least get justice,” Catroppa said. “It’s sad, a sad case.”

According to KDKA, police interviewed Catroppa over his relationship with DelTondo and whether there was any bad blood between the two.

“[Police] appeared very satisfied about what we told them,” Colafella told KDKA. “We provided alibi information that they were able to verify, so that’s all we can really do.”

Catroppa’s attorney went on to note that the incident involving the teen had nothing to do with his client’s split with DelTondo.

“The ending of the relationship had nothing whatsoever to do with the circumstances surrounding the investigation of her being in the car with a student or any of that,” said Colafella. “That sort of played out later.”

“It’s an unfortunate tragedy, and hopefully she gets justice,” Catroppa said.

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