Monday, September 26, 2011

Missing Jersey City mom's body found in concrete drum - "husband" charged with 1st degree murder

A Jersey City man was charged with 1st degree murder in the death of his baby's mother, a Canadian who moved to Jersey City, NJ to become a waitress. 38 year old Steven Acuna was charged with strangling his wife and dumping her into a cement-filled barrel which he then folded his wife's body into. The mother's remains were discovered Friday, Septem,ber 23 and Acuna was formally charged with 1st degree murder.

[Randy "Amanda"]Lehrer, 32, was reported missing on Aug. 17. One of the last times she was seen publicly was leaving Tommy’s Family Restaurant on Central Avenue where she worked on Aug. 12 with Acuna, officials said.

Tommy Diakos, owner of Tommy’s Restaurant where Lehrer worked for nearly four years last saw her on Friday Aug. 12 when she finished her shift at 2 p.m.

“I never thought he (Acuna) would do something like that. He was very quiet when he came here,” Diakos said yesterday. “I hope she rests in peace. The baby is going to miss her more than anybody else.”

Acuna was always a suspect in his wife's disappearance. After Jersey City police used cadaverdogs to search their apartment and found nothing, Acuna was held of outstanding warrants, then released. Officials went back late last week after surmising that Amanda's body might have been dumped in the basement.

Hudson County, NJ Prosecutor Edward DeFazio stated, “Last week, based on further investigation, Jersey City police ascertained that tenants in the building had access to the basement. Based on that information they got permission from the owner of the property to inspect the basement...They discovered this barrel that was hidden by construction-type debrisAnd when they saw that barrel, based on good intuition, they said something didn’t look right about the barrel.”

The barrel was opened and Lehrer’s remains were found “encased” in concrete, according to DeFazio. There was no evidence that she was dismembered. “It is almost like she was bent, folded,” the prosecutor said. As investigators examined the remains, they realized they belonged to a woman, DeFazio said.

“Although there was decomposition, they were of a mind that it was Amanda. Then, further corroboration was obtained at the time of autopsy.”

DeFazio went on to say, "We believe this (murder) occurred during the course of a domestic violence situation and it could be that she was strangled.We believe it happened shortly after she was last seen alive.”

Acuna is being held on $1 million bail for 1st degree murder at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.  After his wife's body was found, neighbors organized a vigil outside their apartment. A woman who was visiting her daughter said, "It's so sad, just painfully sad. I was visiting my daughter and wanted to know why everyone was standing around this house. Now, I wish it wasn't so."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't start a sentence using numerals. The number 38 should be used in word form at the beginning of a sentence. Just a friendly comment. Mistakes like these tarnish the credibility of what is a good site.