The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

February 27, 2013

Police: Man dead 'days' before Walton fire

By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star

---- — Dominick L. Bosco had been dead for “several days” when his body was found in the ashes of a Walton house, state police said Tuesday.

The 51-year-old man’s death, along with the death of Randy L. Sundstrom, 49, whose body was found Friday at another Walton property, have been ruled homicides, state police Lt. Erik Dauber said during a briefing at the Troop C headquarters in Unadilla.

“At this point, Debra Sundstrom is the only suspect in disappearance and deaths of these two, but we haven’t ruled out anyone else,” he said.

Officials said Debra S. Sundstrom, 48, killed herself Feb. 19 in Bosco’s residence at 294 John Lockwood Road in the town of Walton, just as the two-story log home erupted in flames.

Two law-enforcement officers — Walton Village Police Chief Brian Laauser and Karl Vagts, a senior investigator for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office — had gone to the John Lockwood Road house to execute a bench warrant for Debra Sundstrom after she failed to appear in court to answer larceny charges, Dauber said.

“They just received information she might be at that residence, which was a seasonal residence,” he said. “She initially answered the door, but … she was only dressed in a nightshirt, so she had asked them if she could have a minute to get changed. She shut the door, and it was within a minute they heard the two shots.”

Dauber said the first shot from the .30-30 rifle killed a dog in the house. The second shot was Debra Sundstrom’s suicide, he said.

“The rifle was located in that residence on Lockwood Road, and that residence was owned by a family member of Dominick Bosco,” Dauber replied when asked about the rifle’s ownership.

Dauber said that the two lawmen entered the house, and that Laauser raced upstairs, where he found Debra Sundstrom’s body. Vagts remained at the bottom of the stairs, Dauber said.

About that time, the two realized the house was on fire and fled.

“It was only a matter of minutes that the home was becoming fully engulfed,” Dauber said.

Bosco’s remains were found in the home’s basement after the fire was extinguished, state police have said.

Investigators “haven’t been able to determine the cause of death for Mr. Bosco, but they have been able to determine that his death preceded the fire,” Dauber said. “They know it was a matter of days. They can’t be specific at this point.”

At the start of the  investigation, Dauber said, state police didn’t know that Debra Sundstrom was married, but upon discovering she was, they attempted to locate Randy Sundstrom so they could talk to him.

“Initially, we weren’t looking for his body,” Dauber said. “Initially, we were investigating the fire at the house, and one thing led to another.”

It soon developed that “it had been about 2010 when he was last seen,” he said.

“So we wound up looking into Debra Sundstrom’s residence.”

Investigators with cadaver-sniffing dogs located human remains Friday in a sealed 55-gallon drum in the back yard of the Sundstroms’ home at 1884 South River Road in Walton, Dauber said.

“Those human remains were later identified as ... belonging to Randy Sundstrom,” he said.

“He was never labeled as a missing person; he was never called in as a missing person,” the lieutenant added, saying that family members told investigators they had not had contact with him for “many years.”

Dauber said the investigation continues on several fronts, including mental histories, whether there was a history of domestic violence, the cause death for Bosco and Randy Sundstrom and Debra Sundstrom’s motive for killing the two men.

“Everything with her right now — actually all three subjects — is under investigation,” Dauber said. “We’re fielding a lot of phone calls, people who know all the people involved in this.”