Arrest in two-year-old murder; Husband accused of pushing woman from cliff

Posted 5/15/15

By Fritz Mayer May 15, 2015 — By FRITZ MAYER SHOHOLA FALLS, PA — Pennsylvania State Police have made an arrest in the death of a woman who fell into a ravine at Shohola Falls in March 2013. …

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Arrest in two-year-old murder; Husband accused of pushing woman from cliff

Posted
By Fritz Mayer
May 15, 2015

By FRITZ MAYER

SHOHOLA FALLS, PA — Pennsylvania State Police have made an arrest in the death of a woman who fell into a ravine at Shohola Falls in March 2013.

The body of Gail Dews of Wayne, NJ, 56, was recovered on March 11, after dozens of firefighters and emergency responders worked for more than eight hours to recover her body from the bottom of a ravine beneath a bridge on Route 6 near Shohola Falls.

On May 14 of this year, Stephen Dews, 56, was arrested and charged with the murder of his late wife Gail. The affidavit of probable cause says that Stephen killed Gail “causing her to plummet from a cliff into a ravine at Shohola Falls.”

Stephen was arrested in Little Falls, NJ and will be extradited to Pennsylvania.

On the morning after the death, Stephen wandered into Mr. B’s Mini Mart near the falls, and the owner told police that he was acting strangely but ultimately called police.

Troopers Michael Mulvey and Edward McCarthy responded, and Stephen told them the couple had been walking the day before, but they fell on the ice and Stephen didn’t know exactly where it happened. Ultimately, he reluctantly agreed to take troopers to the spot where he last saw his wife a couple of miles from the store.

Mulvey spotted the body at the bottom of the ravine, but the position of the body didn’t match with where Stephen said she had fallen. In an interview at police barracks later, Stephan said he had fallen on the ice and was knocked unconscious and did not know where his wife had gone, but he did not try to get help until the next day.

A waitress at the Dunkin Donuts in Hawley told police she had seen the couple before they went hiking, and Stephen was talking to Gail in a “loud and disrespectful manner.”

Gail was pronounced dead on March 11, 2013 by Pike County Coroner Kevin Stroyan. Dr. Starling-Roney, a forensic pathologist, conducted an autopsy and determined that Gail suffered a fractured hyoid bone, which led Starling-Roney to conclude that he could not rule out that Gail had not suffered from strangulation. He also said Gail had suffered multiple instances of blunt force trauma.

A few days later Gail’s brother, Neil Vanderteem, told a trooper that he believed Gail and Stephen were having marital problems, and that Gail had been talking about leaving Stephen.

After that officers interviewed Gail’s sister Karen Ann Giganti, who told them that Stephen “was very jealous and controlling, and there were times that Gail talked to Giganti about leaving Stephen.” She also said Stephen told her that Gail did not die “right away.”

Futher DNA tests showed that blood stains on Stephen’s clothing had contained DNA belonging to both him and Gail.

In August 2014, an autopsy report was issued citing the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries and the manner of death is listed as homicide.

Also, there were financial implications for Stephen in his wife’s death. Before the death the couple had sold a home, and Gail’s parents had also sold a home. The affidavit of probable cause said, “It is likely that the victim, Gail Dews was in receipt of a large sum of money from the sale of these homes. After the death of Gail Dews, it is likely that her husband, Stephen Dews was the beneficiary of any remaining funds from the sales of the residences.”

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