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Accused Lyndhurst killer tried to bleach out blood stains, prosecutor says

Photo Credit: Courtesy Bergen County Prosecutor

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said a fight yesterday morning ended in the stabbing death of a 59-year-old Lyndhurst woman and the arrest early this morning of her unemployed neighbor, Stephen Baldino, 49.

Stephen C. Baldino (MUGSHOT: Courtesy Bergen County Prosecutor)
CVP ORIGINAL REPORT: Authorities didn’t have far to look for a suspect in the stabbing death of a troubled 52-year-old Lyndhurst woman yesterday: Be rgen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s detectives have arrested and charged a 49-year-old neighbor. READ MORE….

Baldino and Lydja Mitchell “encountered one another during the early morning hours” yesterday, Molinelli said. “A dispute occurred over an unknown matter, and Mr. Baldino brought a knife with him into the victim’s apartment where he stabbed her to death.

“The knife was recovered at the scene.”

Baldino is being held on $2 million bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with murder, knowingly causing a death, hindering apprehension and weapons possession.

Police went to check on Mitchell around 5 o’clock last night after a neighbor
in the two-brick building on Page Avenue — at the corner of Riverside near the Passaic River — called to say she hadn’t been seen and didn’t respond to knocks on her door, the prosecutor said.

“Police found the door locked but were let in by the landlord,” Molinelli said. “Once inside, police discovered the lifeless and bloody body of Lydja Mitchell, who appeared to have suffered several stab wounds.”

Detectives got a search warrant for Baldino’s apartment, where they found “numerous items of evidence” linking him to the killing,” he said.

Baldino also “took significant steps in an effort to conceal his involvement in the crime, to include soaking clothing and footwear he is believed to have worn during the murder in bleach.”

Mitchell lived for several years in Englewood Cliffs with her parents before moving to Lyndhurst in 2010.

A law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT last night that Mitchell had a “troubled life” and was brought more than once to Bergen Regional Medical Center for her own safety after police were called to her home.

Baldino apparently had emotional problems of his own, the source said.

TV cameras caught images of detectives taking Stephen C. Baldino out of the building following interviews with occupants. Investigators remained at the scene well into the night, with Lyndhurst police working with detectives from Molinelli’s Major Crimes Division.

The arrest and charges “are the result of a joint investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit… and the Lyndhurst Police Department Detective Bureau,” Molinelli said.

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