Officials: Husband May Have Strangled Jersey City Woman

JERSEY CITY, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) –– A New Jersey man is being held on $1 million bail after his wife’s remains were found in a Jersey City basement.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

Police say Steven Acuna has been charged with murder after what is believed to be the remains of his wife, 32-year-old Randy “Amanda” Lehrer, were found in a 55-gallon cement-filled drum on Friday at the Charles Street apartment building where they once lived with their infant daughter.

Acuna was scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Authorities say he might have strangled Lehrer.

Investigators have spoken with Lehrer’s parents and they were able to corroborate a tattoo on the body, but officials are still waiting on DNA results to confirm the identity of the remains.

Lehrer was reported missing on August 17 after the two had an argument. Hudson County prosecutor Edward DeFazio says police think the killing is the result of “a domestic violence situation.”

He also says Acuna relocated to Toms River after his wife went missing and was considered a suspect shortly after the young mother’s disappearance.

Police said Acuna had waited three days before reporting his wife missing and told her co-workers she had gone to Canada to visit her ailing mother. Police also said he’s been uncooperative with authorities since the start of their investigation.

The couple’s basement had not been searched until Friday. That’s when police found the remains inside the 55-gallon drum.

Athanasios Diakos, who owns the restaurant where Lehrer worked, said he’s upset that it took so long to find the body inside the house.

“The police should have found it right away,” he told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “It’s a two-family house and they should have searched from the top to the bottom.”

Meanwhile Saturday night, about 200 people gathered outside the apartment building for a candlelight vigil.

April Kusis a good friend of Lehrer and says she is worried about her infant daughter.

“I feel more at peace now that she’s found, but it’s more upsetting for her daughter who is 1-year-old, that’s the most upsetting part of this whole thing,” said Kusis. “Her daughter now doesn’t have a mom and who knows what will happen with the father.”

“We felt really bad. She didn’t deserve that,” said a woman named Margaret, who also knew Lehrer. “She was a nice young lady and a good mom.”

Acuna is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

Please leave a comment below…


One Comment

  1. BOOBONj says:


  2. TO THE POINT says:

    As unreal as it seems, its quite obvious to how the ball was dropped by the JCPD. The “elite” detectives and special crimes units are to blame. Their only focus was to get all the “glory” of finding Amanda. They were so focused, in such a panic, in such a frenzy to find Amanda “FIRST” that they overlooked what they shouldn’t have. Im sure they kept everything a secret and behind the scenes, in fear that a plain uniformed officer would have found something. Had JCPD conducted a search of the house with your everyday uniformed Police Officers who are out in the streets to “HELP” rather than to get the “GLORY POINTS”, this poor lady would have been found that same very day they searched that home and that beast, that animal, wouldn’t have had so many weeks of freedom to walk the streets. Hey, Special Units, Detectives: Its NOT about getting CREDIT. Its about HELPING. Its about getting Justice as soon as possible. THATS what its about. Shame on you for not sharing information, and sharing the search with your everyday law enforcement officers. That building would have been searched inside out with enough manpower. NOTHING would have been unturned. “Intuition” That was the word used on how they FOUND the body. Give me a break. It doesn’t take “intuition” to think that there is something suspicious about a huge barrel filled with cement in the basement of a home where a person is missing with foul play suspected. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Intuition you call it?! Point of my comment is, to JCPD who manages the special crimes units, and the so called “elite” units: STOP thinking that solving a crime is all about getting credit for your unit. ITS ABOUT GETTING JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS in a timely fashion!!! If any readers agree/disagree with my comment, please send your thoughts. Its really a shame how this person was in a damn garbage can for so many weeks and i pointed out why that was the case.

  3. tonya says:

    he is nothin he has no heart no soul he should die like she did n thats how i see it god nless her soul i hope the baby lives a good life cus this can kill a person she was a sweet girl no need for this too happen no need for someone too take her life this is very sad for alot of ppl we all knew of her n she will b missed rest in peace

  4. KP says:

    He should not allow to have an attorney. He must get “DEATH PENALTY”. What he did was inhuman. No Mercy on this Psycho.” God Bless her Soul.

  5. Howard Jones says:

    I sure hope this loser gets everything he has coming to him!

  6. Matt says:


    After viewing some of the pictures of the baby of Amanda Lehrer, you can notice that the poor girl may have a retinoblastoma in her left eye (based on the white reflection seen in the eye from the pictures and my medical knowledge).

    I hope that this information can be passed to the Lehrer family so that the infant can get proper treatment.

  7. thor's hammer says:

    there’s some prime open space in the american southwest. let’s just stake him face down in the middle of nowhere, blindfolded and gagged. may your end time on our planet be far more miserable that what you inflicted. the good people of new jersey shouldn’t have to pay for your comforts. only the scorpions & rattlesnakes will sense your cries for mercy, and there should be none. justice for the victim only.

  8. John L says:

    Cops dropped the ball on this one. Why wasn’t the beasement searched until Friday? Very sloppy work, JCPD.

  9. tc says:

    Sick Man ____ Gross !

Comments are closed.

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