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Manor teen shot, stepdad held

By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR — April 29, 2008 — A Livingston Manor teen is in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, and her step-father is sitting in jail.
Police responded Sunday to an emergency call from the home of Isabelino Diaz and wife Janine Mathews on Old Route 17.
There, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Niemann found the couple’s daughter, 16-year-old Rebbeca Mathews, bleeding profusely – the result of gunshot wounds to the hand, neck and head.
While MobileMedic Ambulance rushed the teenager to the state police barracks in Liberty to be taken by helicopter to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, deputies were joined by the state police and Town of Fallsburg Police at the home of a family friend on Riverside Avenue in Fallsburg.
Tipped off that Diaz would be there, Schiff said the police found the 55-year-old and placed him under arrest peaceably.
He’s been charged thus far with first degree assault, a felony, for allegedly firing a handgun at his step-daughter in a bedroom of their Livingston Manor home while she was talking on a cell phone.
The gun itself has yet to be recovered.
“We believe it to be a handgun, unknown make, unknown caliber,” Schiff said. “County records indicate [Diaz] does not have a [gun] permit.”
Just one bullet was retrieved whole from the girl at the hospital by State Police in Troop K in Westchester County.
The rest, Schiff said, had shattered, making it hard to tell yet how many bullets were even fired.
Police are still interviewing witnesses, including the girl’s mother, to determine the circumstances that led up to the shooting.
“As far as we can ascertain, there was some friction,” Schiff said. “That night, there was a disagreement, about what we don’t know.
“For some reason, it got out of hand.”
The police have no record of previous disturbances at the residence, and neither the teen nor her stepfather have criminal records.
Mathews is in stable condition, although she’s still in the hospital in Valhalla.
Her stepfather’s case is now in the hands of the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office which will determine whether more charges are appropriate.
“He’s charged with a Class B, violent felony,” noted Assistant District Attorney Jim Farrell, “that’s a pretty serious charge.”
It’s only one step down in the New York State criminal system from attempted murder – which is classified as a Class A felony.
Farrell couldn’t say what exactly will come next for Diaz.
Once he meets with his lawyer, Diaz will have the option of a prehearing or having the evidence in the case sent straight to a grand jury.
He is currently in Sullivan County Jail with no bail, scheduled to appear in the Town of Rockland Court on May 8 at 2:30 p.m.
“I don’t believe this would have been solved as quickly without the close cooperation of all the police agencies in the county coming together,” Schiff noted, giving credit not only to Fallsburg Police and the State Police but a Lumberland constable who lent a hand, the DEC Police, which had a K-9 searching in Livingston Manor and the State Police Troop F Forensic Identification Unit.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office’s new Crime Tips Hotline at 845-807-0158. Calls will remain anonymous.

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