According to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office: On Monday, March 5, 2012, at about 5 p.m., the Lyndhurst Police Department was asked to respond to 103 Page Avenue, Apartment 3 to check on the welfare of the resident. The request was made by a neighbor who became concerned after the resident of Apartment 3 had not been seen that day and was not answering knocks on her door. Police found the door locked but were let in by the landlord. Once inside, police discovered the lifeless and bloody body of Lydja Mitchell, 59, who appeared to have suffered several stab wounds.
The ensuing investigation resulted in the arrest of 49-year-old Stephen Baldino. It is alleged that Baldino and the victim encountered one another during the early morning hours of March 5. A dispute occurred over an unknown matter, and Baldino brought a knife with him into the victim’s apartment, where he stabbed her to death. The knife was recovered at the scene.
A search warrant was executed on apartment 2, which was Baldino’s apartment. The search resulted in the seizure of numerous items of evidence that the prosecutor’s office said linked Baldino to the crime. It was also evident from the search of his apartment that Baldino 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, the prosecutor’s office asserted in a statement.
Baldino was arrested without incident after being located at his residence. He is charged with the following: Murder (1st Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (2nd Degree), and Hindering Apprehension (3rd Degree). Bail has been set at $2 million, with no 10 percent option.
Baldino is unemployed. He and the victim had been acquaintances since living in the same building together for the past year.