press release

Arrest made in Forestburgh homicide investigation

Posted 9/23/20

Sullivan County’s Acting District Attorney Meagan K. Galligan announced that an arrest has been made in connection with the investigation into a September 16 homicide in the Town of Forestburgh.

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press release

Arrest made in Forestburgh homicide investigation

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY  — Sullivan County’s Acting District Attorney Meagan Galligan announced that an arrest has been made in connection with the investigation into a September 16 homicide in the Town of Forestburgh.

Thomas Montanya, 84, of Forestburgh, was arrested late Tuesday, September 2, and charged with murder in the second degree, a class A felony. The charge alleges that, on September 16, at a location on Cold Spring Road in the Town of Forestburgh, Montanya deliberately and intentionally fired shots from a double-barrel shotgun at the victim, who lived with him in the residence, striking her twice in the torso, causing her death.

Galligan said that the investigation commenced following a vehicle crash in Orange County. Village and Town of Montgomery police responded, and asked the sheriff’s office to notify occupants of the Cold Spring Road residence that Montanya was transported to an area hospital. A Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the residence and observed a broken front window and the victim, Helen Dutcher, 74, of Forestburgh, lying on the floor inside.

Emergency responders immediately attempted to render aid to the victim, who succumbed to her injuries. The sheriff’s office, New York State Police and district attorney’s office immediately commenced an investigation.

Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff said, “I just want to thank everyone for their hard work on this investigation, including the Village and Town of Montgomery police departments, New York State Police and members of my office. I’d like to thank Acting DA Galligan and her staff for being on-site, preparing warrants and participating in every stage of this investigation.”

Galligan appeared before the Sullivan County Court last night at approximately 10 p.m. for Montanya’s arraignment, whereupon he was remanded to the Sullivan County Jail without bail pending further court appearances. Galligan said, “Helen should still be here with her family. She, like each of us, had the right to be and feel safe at home. The facts developed during the course of this investigation were the result of the commitment of all of the police agencies involved to bring justice for Helen and peace for her family.”

The filing of a charge is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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