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Story of gunned-down teacher caught with teen in inappropriate incident takes another turn

Crime
Image source: TheBlaze

Pennsylvania teacher Rachael DelTondo's murder investigation has only gotten more dramatic and complicated over the last 24 hours.

DelTondo was gunned down in her mother's driveway on Sunday in what investigators are calling a "crime of passion," and she died at the scene.

An as-yet unknown assailant shot DelTondo no fewer than 10 times in the torso.

What's the background?

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

The police report contained information on a 2016 late-night police stop, which found DelTondo in a steamy vehicle with a 17-year-old boy — a juvenile later said to be in an on-again, off-again relationship with DelTondo.

An unidentified person leaked the report to her employer in an anonymous email in October. DelTondo was suspended from her teaching position a month later.

During the stop, DelTondo reportedly told cops 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.

The wedding was called off several months after the incident with the teen, and local police launched an investigation into the information leak. DelTondo reportedly cooperated with the investigation.

Her ex-fiancé, Frank Catroppa, spoke out this week to clear his name.

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

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

What are the new developments?

According to new reports, DelTondo had both a "friendly" and "romantic" relationship with the teen at the time she was engaged to be married.

On Thursday, Aliquippa police filed a search warrant to access cellphone records of the youth involved with DelTondo, who is now being identified as 20-year-old Sheldon Jeter Jr.

WTAE-TV reported that investigators are requesting this information in order to "further include or exclude Sheldon Jeter Jr. as the actor or conspirator in the criminal homicide of Rachael DelTondo."

According to WTAE, police have not named Jeter as a suspect in DelTondo's murder, and an attorney for Jeter denied any involvement in the murder on his client's behalf.

"Somebody had a reason, a motive to kill this poor girl in such a violent way, and to us, it looks like somebody had something to hide," attorney Michael Santicola said, according to WTAE.

The police's search warrant also included khaki pants, shoes, a windbreaker, and a hat, which were marked with a note that said the items had been collected from Sheldon "by consent."

On Friday, the Daily Mail reported that Jeter showed "no emotion" when officers told him that DelTondo had been brutally murdered.

Do police have a timeline of the night's events?

Law enforcement did reveal a timeline of events leading up to DelTondo's execution on Thursday.

According to investigators' timeline, DelTondo and a female friend, Lauren Watkins, visited a convenience store and another friend, and later went to DelTondo's mother's house so DelTondo could change her clothes.

Watkins is a minor, according to the Daily Mail, and her father is Aliquippa Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, who has been placed on administrative leave because his daughter has been named as a witness in the case.

After DelTondo changed her clothes, she and Watkins left and picked up Sheldon's brother Tyrie, and drove to a New Brighton, Pennsylvania, ice cream shop.

About an hour later, Watkins and Tyrie dropped DelTondo off at her mother's home, and Watkins and Tyrie left the scene.

According to police, officers were dispatched about four minutes after Watkins and Tyrie dropped DelTondo off at her mother's home.

What else?

Jeter's attorney said that DelTondo told his client that she was an "informant in an ongoing investigation of the Aliquippa Police Department," according to WTAE.

The attorney also said that DelTondo was preparing to testify before a grand jury "within days."

According to WTAE, neither law enforcement nor prosecutors had a comment about DelTondos' alleged testimony as of Thursday.

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