Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Man Arrested in Gruesome Slay of 59-Year-Old NJ Woman

Prosecutor's office says suspect brutally stabbed victim to death after an argument.

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    Stephen Baldino, of Lyndhurst, was charged with first-degree murder, hindering apprehension and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the death of Lydja Mitchell.

    A 49-year-old New Jersey man has been charged with murdering a 59-year-old woman and trying to cover it up, the prosecutor's office said.

    Stephen Baldino, of Lyndhurst, was charged with first-degree murder, hindering apprehension and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the death of Lydja Mitchell.

    The two had been acquaintances since living in the same building together for the past year, said Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli.

    Police found Mitchell's body on Monday when they were called to her apartment on Page Avenue for a welfare check. A neighbor had become concerned since Mitchell wasn't answering the knocks at her door and had not been seen that day.

    The door was locked, but a landlord let in police. Once inside, police discovered the lifeless and bloody body of Mitchell, who appeared to have suffered several stab wounds, Molinelli said.

    The knife was recovered at the scene.

    An investigation led police to Baldino. Baldino and Mitchell allegedly had an argument over an unknown matter Monday morning. Baldino allegedly went to the victim's apartment with a knife and stabbed her to death, Molinelli said.

    Police executed a search warrant at Baldino's home and found multiple items linking him to the crime, authorities said.

    The evidence also suggested he had tried to cover up his involvement in the crime, including soaking clothing and footwear he is believed to have worn during the murder in bleach, Molinelli said.

    Baldino, who is currently unemployed, was arrested without incident at his home Tuesday.

    Bail has been set at $2 million. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.