A Pennsylvania husband was recently arrested and charged in connection with the killing his wife and dismembering her in an apparently failed effort to dispose of the evidence.
Stephen Capaldi, 57, stands accused of one count each of murder in the third degree, possessing an instrument of crime, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function and abuse of a corpse, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
In affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime, the Perkasie Borough Police Department says the case first appeared on their radar in early October of this year after Emma Capaldi reported that her mother, 55-year-old Elizabeth Capaldi, was missing. The daughter told police her mom had no known mental or psychological problems.
The deceased woman, the PBPD wrote, was last seen alive by her husband during the morning hours of Oct. 10, 2022 – two days before the missing persons report was filed. A grand jury report, however, says that Stephen Capaldi initially told his daughter that Elizabeth Capaldi had been “missing for a few days” before that date.
“Her purse, some clothing, personal items and cash are all that are missing from the home,” the affidavit says. “Elizabeth’s cellular phone, iPad and vehicle were all left at the residence.”
The next day, Stephen Capaldi allegedly “noticed” that an additional “$13,000.00 cash” and other items were missing from their house.
“Upon learning this news, Emma Capaldi left work immediately and traveled to her parent’s home in search of clues,” the grand jury report reads. “Emma Capaldi told her father she would be calling the police and his response was, ‘Do what you think you have to do.'”
On Dec. 8, 2022, Stephen Capaldi allegedly confessed to his wife’s murder during an interview with detectives at the district attorney’s office. The husband allegedly said that he smothered his victim to death on Oct. 10, 2022, by strangling her while she was sleeping in their bed and that he also used a pillow.
“Following Elizabeth’s murder, Stephen moved her body from the master bedroom to a back bedroom, and then to his basement,” the affidavit alleges. “Stephen dismembered Elizabeth Capaldi’s body and disposed of [it] on October 12, 2022 prior to ever meeting with law enforcement. Capaldi admitted to purchasing items to carry out the disposal of Elizabeth’s body.”
According to the grand jury report, Stephen Capaldi also had some excuses and alternating narratives before that alleged admission.
He first claimed his wife of thirty years left “on her own accord” and that he “had no idea where she could be but guessed that it was probably a beach or somewhere warm.” The defendant allegedly went on to say that his wife “unhappy in their marriage” and that she probably left in order to “prove a point.”
The husband’s allegedly false narrative went on:
He claimed that a week prior to her disappearance, his wife was sobbing in the kitchen and told him that she had been having an affair for the past three years. He claims that he was “interested” in this disclosure but didn’t ask any questions of her; not even who this alleged affair was happening with. He claimed that immediately following this conversation they went about their day as planned and worked on the patio together. … The night before his wife disappeared, he described holding hands on the couch with his wife watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer together before bed.
Grand jurors didn’t believe any of the defendant’s claims about his wife’s alleged affair, the report says.
According to investigators, searches turned up no evidence of any such affair, plans for travel, or even any marital discord – at least on the victim’s behalf. Rather, investigators allege, Stephen Capaldi was having an affair with a woman in Lansdale, Pa. and that he even traveled to her residence on the day his wife went missing.
An eventual search of the defendant’s phone allegedly confirmed a six-month-long “emotional and sexual affair” with the other woman.
The grand jury report also details a litany of incriminating internet searches, including: “how to get away with murder”; “how to delete Facebook messages”; “can you avoid police detection by turning off your phone”; “how to control your dark impulses”; “how to disappear and never be found”; and “FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics”.
Those internet searches allegedly became more tell-tale and gruesome in the days after Elizabeth Capaldi was dead and include: “Quikrete cement”; “Reciprocating saw” and “DIY blacklight.”
The report goes on to detail an increasing amount of evidence presented against the defendant during the grand jury. One such point of evidence was a collection of narratives about Stephen Capaldi’s large credit card debt, his purchase and sell of thousands of dollars worth of comic books, the presence (or lack thereof) of the $13,000 he claimed was stolen from the basement, and even an alleged motive related to all of the immediately foregoing: “the fact that he had found someone (his mistress) that he loved and who supported his dream of opening a comic book store with his brother while his wife did not.”
After the grand jury session, the defendant allegedly approached the district attorney and agreed to accept the above-noted charges. He also agreed to lead investigators to his wife’s body. Some of those remains were buried along the Delaware River in Tinicum Township, Pa., while other parts of his wife were left in a dumpster in Montgomery County, according to Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.
[image via Bucks County District Attorney]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]