Arrest made in North Tonawanda Cold Case

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Trial to be held twenty-five years after death of Amanda Steingasser


By: Madison Ruffo

In September 1993, a North Tonawanda student by the name of Amanda Steingasser was murdered, and the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office believe that her killer is now in custody. Joseph H. Belstadt, 43, a former classmate of Steingasser’s, has been arrested and charged for her murder.

The arrest was made by the North Tonawanda Police Department around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24th at Belstadt’s home in the Town of Tonawanda.

While prior records show that Belstadt was an initial suspect in the early stages of the investigation, he repeatedly denied culpability over the years and the evidence against him was primarily circumstantial.

It is still unclear what led authorities back to him nearly 25 years later.

Steingasser, a 17 year-old, was last seen around 1:30 a.m. on September 20th, 1993 when she accepted a ride home from Belstadt after a party. Over a month later on October 25th, 1993 she was found dead at Bond Lake Park in Lewiston.

“From the first day,” said defense attorney Dominic Saraceno, “he’s adamantly denied doing this. He has never made any admissions to the crime. We look forward to having our day in court, and we plan to fight these allegations, vigorously … my client says he is not guilty, and I believe him.”

Belstadt was arraigned in Niagara County Court on Wednesday, April 25th, and is expected to have a pre-trial hearing on July 10th.

He is currently out on bail after his family posted a bond and has a tentative trial date scheduled for September 10th.

If found guilty he will face life in prison.


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