OSWEGO, NY – Standing alongside members of the New York State Police, Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes today (Nov. 5) announced the arrest of 32-year-old Steven D. Szatanek for the murder of Anna Rose Shove.
Szatanek from Camerondale Road in Baldwinsville, has been charged with second-degree murder, a class A felony, and second-degree manslaughter, a class C felony, in connection with the death this August of the 17-year-old from Ontario, NY.
If convicted, he could face up to 25 years to life in prison.
An Oswego County Grand Jury handed down the indictment on Oct. 30 and the suspect was arrested at the Groveland Correctional Facility on Tuesday (Nov. 4) where he had been serving time on a parole violation since shortly after the homicide, Oakes said.
The State Police along with the DA thanked the members of the public who came forward with information and the owners and residents of Brennan’s Beach Campground for their cooperation during the two-month investigation.
In August, the Onondaga County Medical Examiner said the teen’s death was due to drowning; but the manner of death was pending further investigation, according to New York State Police investigators.
Szatanek was arraigned this morning, Oakes said.
“Mr. Szatanek was on parole at the time this offense was (allegedly) committed,” the DA said. “The State Police worked cooperatively and closely with my office to investigate this case. I want to commend their exceptional efforts and stellar investigation conducted by the NY State Police to identify Mr. Szatanek as the (alleged) killer and to gather the necessary evidence for his indictment before a grand jury.”
The suspect will return to court Friday, this time with an attorney that has been assigned him, Oakes added.
“One thing that I’d like to add is that Brennan’s Beach Campground is a safe, family-fun destination for decades. Nothing about this changes,” Captain Mark Lincoln of the NY State Police pointed out. “The campground administration was hugely cooperative with our investigators. I’d also like to commend the media. Shortly into this case, three or four days after the drowning, we asked for the media and generals public’s help identify a guy named Steve with some tattoos from Syracuse. The media got the word out and we got the information and located a parolee who was trying to engage teenage girls on the beach that day.”
They checked with their partners in Parole and within a week of the homicide, the suspect was locked up.
Investigators spent hundreds of hours over the next couple of months putting the case together, Capt. Lincoln said.
Szatanek was on parole for second-degree burglary and wasn’t allowed to leave Onondaga County without permission from his parole officer (which he didn’t have in August).
“We know that this can’t bring Anna back. But we hope that this answers a few questions for her family,” the captain said. “It’s important. We shouldn’t discount the value of locking up a predator who was targeting teenage girls on the beach.”
“Our understanding is that he was trying to talk to a number of young girls up there. There is no evidence that Mr. Szatanek knew Anna Shove before that date. This really appears to be a crime of opportunity,” the DA said. “We can’t get into the specifics of what the facts are and what the evidence is at this point.”
At least “a handful” of young women have come forward saying the suspect had tried to talk to them that day, he added.
Oakes also thanked the media for their help in the case.
“Every little bit of information we received was like another piece of the puzzle that helped put this together,” he said. “We would encourage anyone else who may have information relating to this case, please to contact (State Police Investigators in Pulaski at 315- 298-1470).”
Shove, from 5802 Lanson Road, Ontario, NY, had been camping at Brennan’s Beach with her family.
On Aug. 10, at approximately 4:07 p.m., two campers at Brennan’s Beach campground in the town of Richland, observed a female floating in Lake Ontario. They pulled her from the water and contacted 911. Her body was recovered on a state owned beach approximately 100 yards northeast of the campground.
EMS pronounced her dead at 4:25 p.m.