The newly appointed acting Police Chief of Aliquippa is recusing his department from investigating the murder of Rachael DelTondo. Rachael’s mother, Lisa, is praising the move.
Acting Chief Robert Sealock said in a statement to the Beaver Countian that he will be ordering Aliquippa’s detectives off of the case.
“My first official directive as acting Chief of the Aliquippa Police Department will be recusing the Aliquippa Police Department and its officers from the Rachael DelTondo murder investigation,” said Sealock. “Moving forward I will make myself available and provide information and assistance to any and all agencies in the proactive investigation of this troubling and senseless crime. I have full confidence that the investigating agencies will unravel this crime and will prevail in bringing the guilty culprit or culprits to justice.”
Lisa DelTondo has been calling for the Aliquippa Police Department to be removed from the investigation of her daughter’s murder since the day after it occurred.
“This is a good step forward,” Lisa told the Beaver Countian. “I hope this makes a difference. Today is one month since my daughter was murdered and we have nothing. It is disgusting and it is sad. I am glad that Aliquippa is now off of the case, they never should have been on it.”
Lisa DelTondo told the Beaver Countian she is grateful to acting Chief Sealock for respecting her wishes and doing what she believes is the right thing.
District Attorney David Lozier has faced intense criticism for not bringing in an outside agency to investigate the murder of Rachael DelTondo, due to several apparent conflicts the Aliquippa Police Department has in the case.
Aliquippa Police had leaked sensitive law enforcement records about DelTondo to an unauthorized member of the public prior to her death; one of the last people to see the woman alive was the daughter of Aliquippa Police Sergeant Kenneth Watkins — who himself has been accused of making unauthorized entry into the DelTondo crime scene while off-duty.
Sealock plans to use his department’s limited resources on other public safety priorities in the town.
“The Aliquippa Police will be focusing our resources on other investigations and looking out for the safety and welfare of our citizens,” said Sealock. “Our efforts will be concentrated on moving forward and continuing to be active within the City of Aliquippa. As Chief, I will be requesting the assistance of the community in reporting crime, as well as promoting transparency and trust in the police within the community.”
On Thursday of last week, then-acting Police Chief Joe Perciavalle had similarly pledged to recuse the Aliquippa Police Department from the DelTondo investigation, but he was arrested by Beaver County Detectives before he was able to take formal action.
Acting Chief Sealock has meetings scheduled with the Pennsylvania State Police and plans to ask for their help.
“I will not hesitate to seek the assistance of any local, state, or federal agency that can assist in solving crimes and bettering of the City of Aliquippa,” Sealock concluded.