WILMINGTON, DE – A respected preschool teacher in Delaware, who failed to report to work one day, was tragically found dead in a nearby park the next day. A week later, her boyfriend was apprehended and charged with her murder, according to local law enforcement.
Stephen Heck, 66, was taken into custody on Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge related to the death of 63-year-old Cynthia Amalfitano. He is currently detained at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, as per police statements and jail records.
On September 25, police were alerted to Amalfitano’s unexplained absence from her home on Birch Circle in Wilmington. Her coworkers at Concord Preschool, where she had been a dedicated teacher for 24 years, reported her missing when she did not show up for work, a behavior described as unusual for the committed educator.
Upon arriving at Amalfitano’s residence, police found her cellphone and wallet, but the teacher was nowhere to be found. Following an investigation and numerous tips, authorities discovered Amalfitano’s body discarded near a parking lot in Carousel Park, a short distance from her home.
Heck emerged as a person of interest after a coroner ruled Amalfitano’s death a homicide. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. “After a comprehensive investigation into the incident, detectives issued a warrant for Stephen’s arrest on October 3, 2023,” the department stated. Heck was apprehended without incident by detectives from the Special Investigations Squad.
The police have yet to disclose further details regarding the circumstances of Amalfitano’s death. New Castle County Police Chief Col. Joseph Bloch expressed his condolences to the family and praised his criminal investigations unit for their diligent work in apprehending the suspect.
Concord Presbyterian Church pastor, the Rev. Steven Clark, shared that the school had to close abruptly as Amalfitano’s death deeply affected the staff. He described Amalfitano as a vibrant individual who “lit up a room wherever she was.”
Friends and family remembered Amalfitano as a lively, caring woman who loved spending time with her family, friends, and pets. Her obituary noted her fondness for animals and her frequent visits to Rehoboth Beach.
The investigation into Amalfitano’s murder continues, and anyone with relevant information is urged to contact Detective Gino Cevallos.