Preschool Teacher Found Dead in Park, Boyfriend Charged with Murder

In Wilmington, Delaware, a beloved preschool teacher’s sudden disappearance ended in tragedy when her body was discovered in a local park. A week later, her boyfriend was arrested and charged with her murder, according to local law enforcement.

Stephen Heck, 66, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 63-year-old Cynthia Amalfitano. Heck is currently being held at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, according to police statements and jail records.

On September 25, police were notified of Amalfitano’s unexplained absence from her Birch Circle home in Wilmington. Her colleagues at Concord Preschool, where she had served for 24 years, reported her missing when she failed to report to work, an unusual occurrence for the dedicated educator.

Upon investigating her residence, police found Amalfitano’s personal belongings, but she was nowhere to be found. After a thorough investigation and numerous tips, authorities discovered her body discarded near a parking lot in Carousel Park, not far from her home.

Heck became a person of interest after a coroner ruled Amalfitano’s death a homicide. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. “After a comprehensive investigation into the incident, detectives issued a warrant for Stephen’s arrest on October 3, 2023,” the department stated. Heck was apprehended without incident by detectives from the Special Investigations Squad.

Further details regarding the circumstances of Amalfitano’s death have not been disclosed by the police. New Castle County Police Chief Col. Joseph Bloch expressed his condolences to the family and commended his criminal investigations unit for their diligent work in apprehending the suspect.

The Rev. Steven Clark, pastor of Concord Presbyterian Church, shared that the school had to close abruptly as Amalfitano’s death deeply affected the staff. He described Amalfitano as a vibrant individual who “lit up a room wherever she was.”

Amalfitano was remembered by friends and family as a lively, caring woman who loved spending time with her family, friends, and pets. Her obituary noted her fondness for animals and her frequent visits to Rehoboth Beach.

The investigation into Amalfitano’s murder continues, and anyone with relevant information is urged to contact Detective Gino Cevallos.