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Second-degree

Joseph Jones mugshot from SCPD

A Centereach man has been charged with second-degree murder, more than five years after his wife’s body was found in the woods near her home.

The Suffolk County Police Department announced on Friday that officers had arrested Joseph T. Jones, 33, in connection with Nicole Tessa’s December 2010 murder.

Tessa’s family had reported her missing on Dec. 19 that year, two days after the 31-year-old was last seen alive. Two days after that, police said at the time, police dog Blue and Canine Section officer John Mallia found Tessa’s body while searching a wooded area near her home on Prince Street in North Patchogue.

Attorney information for Jones, who lives near the border of Centereach and Selden, a few blocks from Newfield High School, was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Riverhead on Monday.

Detectives charged a man with second-degree murder this week, just days after his wife was found dead in their Lake Grove home.

The Suffolk County Police Department said Paul Leitgeb injured his own wrist and throat, threatened to further harm himself and threatened officers before he was taken into custody on Tuesday. Cops had tracked him to a hiking trail in Pawling, N.Y., and authorities from the state police, the Dutchess County sheriff’s office and the Metro-North police extensively searched the area before a state canine team found the suspect on the Appalachian Trail that day.

Police allege that Leitgeb, 49, murdered his wife, 42-year-old Tricia Odierna. The SCPD said last week that Odierna was found dead in their home on Win Place in Lake Grove on Oct. 1, and authorities believed the woman’s cause of death was criminal in nature.

Her body was discovered as Suffolk County patrol officers responded to a 911 call that afternoon and entered the house, near Hawkins Avenue. The woman was publicly identified a few days later.

Attorney information for Leitgeb was not available Thursday. Police said he was treated for his injuries at a hospital in Poughkeepsie before being transported to a hospital in Suffolk County for further treatment, and would be arraigned when he is released.

Detectives from the SCPD’s Homicide Squad are still investigating the alleged murder. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-852-6392, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

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