Authorities Look into 20-Year-Old Lover After Pa. Teacher's Unsolved Mother's Day Slaying
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, police have not yet named any suspects in the death of Rachael DelTondo, who was fatally shot on Mother's Day
Pennsylvania investigators are continuing to puzzle out the mysterious May 13 fatal shooting of a teacher in her mother’s driveway — and they have issued search warrants that shed light on the investigation, PEOPLE confirms.
Aliquippa police have not yet named any suspects in the death of Rachael DelTondo, who was fatally shot on Mother’s Day, but they recently seized the cell phone of Sheldon Jeter Jr.
Jeter, 20, has sporadically been romantically involved with DelTondo, particularly in recent months, according to his attorney. He is the same man who was once allegedly found in a parked car with her when he was 17.
Authorities have also asked Jeter for the clothes he was wearing the night of the killing. According to a police affidavit, he initially gave them a pair of khaki pants and a windbreaker. A surveillance camera spotted him wearing a gray sweatshirt on the same evening DelTondo was shot.
The search warrant was first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
DelTondo, 33, worked as a teacher at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School until last October, when she was suspended after allegations surfaced that she had been found in a parked car with Jeter.
She was never charged in that incident.
“It’s shameful that this woman was painted with a police report that had been written that did not result in criminal charges,” prosecutor David Lozier reportedly said after DelTondo’s slaying. “It was a personal vendetta against her at the time.”
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Jeter’s attorney, Michael Santicola, told the Post-Gazette that his client has nothing to do with DelTondo’s death.
“I can tell you he has alibis,” Santicola said. “He was not alone. And many, many people can verify it. We are hoping the cell phone records are looked at properly and quickly to exonerate him.”
Santicola did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Jeter allegedly told police he met DelTondo at a convenience store. While video shows DelTondo at a Circle K gas station, it does not show Jeter.
However, Jeter’s attorney told local TV station KDKA, “I do not think the discrepancies are incriminating.”
Santicola added, “In fact, I would probably challenge the fact that there even are discrepancies.”
Timeline of the Killing
According to the search warrant, DelTondo was with friends in the hours before she died.
Around 8 p.m., a teenage girl, Lauren Watkins, picked up DelTondo and drove to a Circle K. Later, they picked up Tyrie Jeter — Sheldon Jeter’s older brother — and went out for ice cream.
While they were eating their ice cream, Sheldon texted Tyrie to ask if they were “there already.” Tyrie responded “yes.”
According to the warrant affidavit, Sheldon texted, “I got left huh,” followed by six smiley faces. Watkins then dropped DelTondo back at her home, at 10:44 p.m., and left with Tyrie, the search warrant states.
Four minutes later, DelTondo was shot to death.
Another Search Warrant Issued
Watkins is the daughter of Aliquippa police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, who has been placed on administrative leave to preserve the integrity the investigation.
Police have now applied for a search warrant to Facebook, asking for the activity of Stephanie Watkins, Lauren’s mother.
The application, which was first reported by the BeaverCountian, requests Stephanie’s Facebook status updates, friend list and private messages. (PEOPLE’s efforts to reach Stephanie for comment were unsuccessful on Tuesday night.)
Authorities have been careful to emphasize that the public should not draw any conclusions from their investigative procedure — and that they are chasing any viable lead.
“We had a young woman … shot to death on the driveway of her mother’s house on Mother’s Day evening,” David Lozier, the Beaver County district attorney, previously told KDKA. “We’re investigating everyone that was driving in Aliquippa that night that was anywhere near this young lady’s house.”
PEOPLE confirms that investigators sent DelTondo’s cell phone to a lab to unlock all of her text messages and emails.
Lozier has told reporters that authorities have not yet determined a motive in the homicide. He did say, however, that the neighborhood should not be afraid of an indiscriminate killer.
Asked if the shooting was random, he answered, “From what we know, no.”