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Arrest Made in Nunda Homicide Case

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Rochester: Arrest Made in Nunda Homicide Case
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Authorities in Livingston County say a nearly one year investigation has led to the arrest of a Rochester man.

Sheriff's investigators took 58-year-old Craig Steward into custody around 9 p.m. Monday. Steward is charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of 37-year-old Deanna Dudek.

Dudek's body was found last May in a drainage ditch in the town of Nunda. Livingston County Sheriff John York says many suspects were interviewed over the past eleven months. He called Steward a prime suspect all along.

"There were many key things that led us to positively identifying Steward as a suspect. Some of them we can't disclose at this point, as it will be presented to a county grand jury," York explained.

Police say Steward was given a polygraph Monday evening before offering up a confession.

"After the clinical portion of the polygraph, we put it in charts; at that point he was interviewed regarding that, where he confessed," said New York State Police investigator Eric Hurd, who administered the polygraph.

Investigators believe that Steward killed Dudek on November 14, 2009 in the Curlew Street home the two shared in Rochester. Police then allege that Steward transported Dudek's body to Nunda couple of days later.

They are calling Dudek and Steward boyfriend and girlfriend, even though their relationship was in the early stages when Dudek was killed.

"We knew the victim and the suspect had not known each other long, but the victim had moved in with the suspect and had been staying there for a brief period of time prior to the homicide," York said.

Police say Steward traveled some 60 miles to dump Dudek's body. Sheriff's investigators believe the area of Nunda where Dudek was found by a couple of fishermen was a familiar place to Steward.

"Our investigators, early on, determined that he had had a location in that area where a camp had been located that the family and he had used not far from where the body was found,” Sheriff York explained. “That, obviously, was one of the key things that led us in the direction of Craig Steward."

Steward is being held in the Livingston County jail without bail. He is scheduled to appear in Nunda Town Court for a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon.

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