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July 24, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Delaware Co. lawman on 'Extreme Forensics'

Daily Star

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Former Sidney Supervisor Joe Maddalone was startled to look up at his television at about midnight Thursday, July 15, and see Delaware County Undersheriff Doug Vredenburgh in an episode of Discovery Channel's "Extreme Forensics."

"I was just kind of surfing through the channels and I thought to myself 'that guy looks like Doug,'" Maddalone said Friday. "I yelled at my wife, Joyce, to come and see it, but she was asleep upstairs."

Vredenburgh appeared in an episode that focused on a gruesome crime he helped solve in 1995 when he was an investigator with the Wilmington, N.C., police department.

Vredenburgh said he got a call from the show's producers in January asking him to participate in the reenactment of the investigation. He said they originally asked him if they could come to New York and film here, but he suggested they fly him down there so they revisit the actual scene.

"Of course I got down there and they were having a record cold winter," he said with a laugh.

Vredenburgh said the producers had promised him that they would supply him with a copy of the show and notify him when it would be on, but he never heard anything and found out accidentally that it was airing Thursday.

The episode, titled "Vanishing Man," was about the murder of a 17-year-old boy named Danny Pence of Wilmington, N.C. Pence had been trying to sell his Ford Mustang and met a couple who showed interest in the car. He told his mother he was meeting them and then didn't come home.

About the same time a dead body was discovered 150 miles away in a secluded wooded area near Durham, N.C.

The show describes the detective work that went into tracking down the killers, a 20-year-old named Todd Boggus and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Melanie Gray.

The focus of the show was forensic psychology and interrogation techniques that the investigators used to connect Boggus to the crime scene because there wasn't enough physical evidence.

Boggus went to trial and was found guilty based partially on Vredenburgh's testimony that, even though the man claimed to be remorseful, when he cried during the interrogation he sobbed but failed to shed tears. Boggus received the death sentence.

Vredenburgh said he has been involved in many interesting crimes in his career, but this was one of the most heartless, pointless killings he ever saw.

"All they had to do was take the car, they didn't need to kill the kid, and they did it in a brutal way," Vredenburgh said.

The show can be downloaded through for $1.99.

Last week a Walton man volunteered to take over a Walton village summer recreation program and was in need of supplies to keep the children busy.

A story in The Daily Star brought a deluge of offers of art supplies to help Jonathan Brooks get the program going again, but as Brooks drove around gathering the goodies, he drove through a huge pothole as he left the Walton pool and put his car out of commission for a week, sidelining the restart of the recreation program.

He said Friday that the car is now repaired, the supplies gathered and the program will be back on track Monday.

Walton Mayor Ed Snow said he was thrilled to have Brooks keep the program going for the next few weeks.

"The finances of the village are thin and we didn't want to cut the program out entirely, but we had to cut it back," Snow said. "Jonathan brings something different to the table because he is an artist. I am glad we have someone like him to step up to the plate.

"I think there are a lot of talented people out there who might step up if they realized how happy we are to have volunteers come forward," Snow said. He added that there are people who are using their own time and tools to mow lawns and whack weeds in the village parks.

"These folks are helping us a lot," Snow said. "We are trying to cut back on personnel costs and I think there are lots of nice, kind people who may be able to help us keep things going."