1993 Niagara County murder finally goes to trial

Mar 9, 2020

Niagara County officials say they have new DNA evidence that will finally close a murder case that has been open for nearly three decades.

The trial of Joseph Belstadt, 44, begins Monday with jury selection. The Town of Tonawanda man was arraigned in April 2018, charged with the 1993 death of Amanda "Mandy" Steingasser, 17.

Joseph Belstadt is accused of murdering Amanda Steingasser in 1993.
Credit North Tonawanda Police

Steingasser was last seen on the  corner of 5th Avenue and Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. Investigators say she disappeared after her classmate Belstadt gave her a ride home after a party.

Her body was recovered about a month later in Bond Lake Park in Lewiston.

Det. Gabriel DiBernardo, who worked the case, retired in 1998 and was a friend of Steingasser's father, who died in 2015. DiBernardo said Niagara County officials had considered Belstadt a suspect early in the investigation because he was the last to see Steingasser alive.

"That case will always be with me until it's resolved. We haven't resolved it yet," DiBernardi said at the time of Belstadt's arraignment. "An indictment is a great step, but I want the conviction. That's what I promised Richard, the father."

WBFO's Michael Mroziak contributed to this story.