N.J. man charged with killing wife at Shohola Falls

| 14 May 2015 | 03:27

By Nathan Mayberg
— Authorities have arrested Stephen Dews, who is charged with killing his wife Gail Dews at Shohola Falls in 2013.

Dews, 59, was arrested in Little Falls, N.J., on Thursday afternoon, May 14, by Pennsylvania State Police and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office for the alleged crime. Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin signed off on the criminal complaint. Gail Dews was 56 at the time of her death.

State police say Stephen Dews killed his wife after taking her from Hawthorne, N.J., to Pike County for a hike in March 2013. He told police at the time that she fell off a cliff while they hiked.

According to an affidavit of probable cause issued by the state police, Dews said he was walking with his wife until 7 p.m. After emerging from the woods, he slipped on the ice, bumped into Gail, and was knocked unconscious. When he awoke, Gail was gone, police said he told them.

State police say that Dews told them he did not search for his wife or call out for her after he regained consciousness.

The owner of a local convenience store told police that night that Dews had walked into the store with bloody hands, saying he couldn't find his wife and that he wanted to call the police.

He led them to a ravine near the Shohola Creek, under a bridge from Shohola Lake, police said.

"The side of the ravine consists of sharp and jagged rock and is a sheer cliff from top to bottom," according to the police affidavit of probable cause against Dews. The bottom of the ravine is about 100 feet from the top edge, according to a police estimate.

The police wrote that they found Gail Dews lying on her back on a rock at the bottom of the ravine. She was about 40 feet from where Stephen Dews had told them she fell. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy found that Gail had suffered a fractured hyoid, a bone between the neck and the chin. A forensic pathologist could not rule out strangulation, according to police.

The pathologist told police that Gail Dews suffered multiple blunt-force trauma to the pelvic region and neck.

Forensic evidence matched blood found on the clothing of Stephen Dews to blood found on his wife, according to police.

A witness told police she was in the area that afternoon and heard a woman scream. The witness said it sounded like a woman falling.

The witness claimed to have seen a man fitting the description of Stephen Dews drive out of Shohola Falls that day, in a vehicle matching one that belonged to him. She said she saw him duck after passing by her car.

He had also told police that he was at Dunkin' Donuts earlier that day with his wife. An employee at Dunkin' Donuts told police she remembered Stephen Dews talking in a "disrespectful and loud manner" to the woman accompanying him.

Stephen Dews is currently awaiting extradition proceedings in New Jersey.