Berks DA, PSP continue to aid NYPD in landfill search


The Berks County district attorney's office and Pennsylvania State Police are aiding the New York Police Department with its investigation of a possible homicide.

The search of a landfill in New Morgan, near Morgantown, stems from the disappearance of Michael Stewart of Staten Island. Police said he was last seen at a pub and a barber shop on December 20.

"PSP has put boots on the ground to assist with the search as we speak," Berks County District Attorney John Adams said. "They were searching the Conestoga Landfill looking for evidence, potentially a body of an individual who was missing."

WABC-TV in New York City reported that police said Stewart may have been placed in a dumpster that has since been emptied, so police are searching multiple landfills, including the one in New Morgan.

Officials said the searches are challenging.

"You're dealing with a needle in a haystack, in many respects, but it's a very important case and we're going to do our part to assist," Adams said. "They do keep grids, so they understand where certain loads of material may have been dumped, so hopefully the landfills themselves can clue the investigators in as to where, most likely, any evidence would have been dumped."

As the search continues, a Lehigh Valley man who said he befriended Stewart decades ago is watching closely.

"The way things are looking now, it doesn't look so great," Angelo Laro Maldonado, a friend of Stewart's, said. "There are some people who have already declared he is dead and some people have already given up on that fight."

As investigators search for clues, Maldonado said he relies on faith.

"I am a proud Christian, and one thing that I believe in doing is just trusting God and believing by faith that something is going to turn around," Stewart said.

Adams said he believes NYPD investigators will be back until they find what they're looking for.