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Sheriff's detectives assist PA authorities in homicide investigation

Sheriff's detectives provided assistance to the Pennsylvania State Police in the investigation of a homicide involving a new born infant.

On June 9, 2011, sheriff’s detectives Michael Yanko and Richard Otte were attempting to locate and arrest Ms. Jennifer Barrise, who was the subject of an outstanding Sussex County Superior Court warrant for nonpayment of child support.


In the course of their investigation to ascertain Ms. Barrise’s whereabouts, detectives Yanko and Otte paid a visit to the family home of Ms. Barrise’s boyfriend, Christopher Fitzpatrick, in Vernon Township. Based on information acquired from Fitzpatrick’s parents, the detectives learned that Barrise and Fitzpatrick were residing in Lake Ariel, PA.


Further investigation led the detectives to suspect Barrise and Fitzpatrick may have been involved in criminal activity related to a newborn child. Detective Yanko immediately contacted investigators at the Honesdale Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police.


The following day, on June 10, as a result of the information furnished by Detective Yanko, the Pennsylvania State Police opened a homicide investigation and subsequently requested investigative assistance within Sussex County from the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Detective Sergeant Michael Tidaback and detectives from the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office assisted Pennsylvania authorities with their investigation in New Jersey.


While the matter remains under investigation in New Jersey and no charges—criminal or otherwise—are pending against either party, both Barrise and Fitzpatrick have been arrested and charged by Pennsylvania State Police.


Mr. Fitzpatrick has been charged with criminal homicide, concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse. Ms. Barrise has been charged with criminal homicide and concealing the death of a child. Both are being held without bail at the Wayne County Correctional Facility in Texas Township, PA.