A 49-year-old former NYPD officer from Lake Grove was arrested Tuesday more than a 100 miles away in upstate Pawling for the alleged murder of his 42-year-old wife, Suffolk County police said.
Paul Leitgeb was apprehended following a lengthy standoff with New York State police, authorities said. Suffolk police had learned that Leitgeb was on a hiking trail in Dutchess County and notified state police. After an extensive search, he was found in a densely wooded area in the Appalachian Trail late Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Authorities said Leitgeb was armed with a box cutter and threatened to injure himself further after apparently cutting his wrist and throat. After a prolonged standoff, he was taken into custody, police said. He was transported to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie for treatment.
Suffolk police homicide detectives charged Leitgeb with second-degree murder. His arraignment has been delayed, pending release from the hospital. Leitgeb, according to multiple reports, is a retired NYPD Transit Officer.
Leitgeb’s wife, 42-year-old Tricia Odierna, was found dead inside her Lake Grove home on Oct. 1, police said. Investigators have yet to reveal what caused her death.
A family friend who launched a GoFundMe account to raise money for the slain mom’s twins and a stepdaughter described Odierna as “one of the most beautiful souls I ever had the honor of knowing.”
“She was my best friend, confidant, sister I never had,” the friend wrote on her GoFundMe page, which has already received more than $20,000 in donations. “She had a heart of gold and to know her was to love her.”