HILLSDALE—In a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon, Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr. and County Coroner Angelo Nero report that Lois I. Decker, the Hillsdale woman murdered November 20 was killed by “manual strangulation.”
Mrs. Decker, 73, was found dead in her home at 18 Cold Water Street by Sheriff’s Office Sergeant John DeRocha, who went there after being unable to contact her by phone about her car, which was involved in an accident earlier that day.
The murder case began to unfold when deputies were called to the scene of a one-car rollover accident on State Route 23 in Martindale, Sunday, November 20 at 6:42 p.m.
Two local people came upon the accident and stopped to assist the young man involved in the crash.
When the Good Samaritans tried to help the driver, he allegedly attempted drive off with a vehicle belonging to one of the Samaritans. After being prevented from stealing the car by both people who had stopped to help, the young man fled on foot, went to a nearby house and within a few minutes allegedly stole a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck from an attached garage.
The stolen truck, operated by the young man, Shafiqul Islam, 21, was found by State Police Sergeant Fred Mueller at the intersection of Warren and Sixth streets in Hudson at 9:56 p.m.
Mr. Islam was charged with third degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class D felony, for possessing the stolen pickup truck and is currently being held in the Columbia County Jail without bail.
The sheriff calls Mr. Islam a suspect in the death of Mrs. Decker, though he has not been charged in connection with her murder or the theft of her car.
The Sheriff’s latest release said that the State Police Forensic Unit has completed its processing of the Decker residence for evidence/clues and “the house has been released by the Sheriff’s Office to the family.”
Sheriff’s Office crime scene technicians continue their examination of the vehicles involved in the case, which are in the possession of authorities.
Mrs. Decker worked in the Roeliff Jansen School cafeteria for more than 20 years and was an active member and Sunday School teacher at the Hillsdale United Methodist Church.
Calling hours are Friday, November 25 at the Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Her funeral is at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Hillsdale United Methodist Church.
“The intensive investigation by Sheriff’s Office investigators, uniformed deputy sheriffs, the District Attorney’s Office and the county coroner is continuing around the clock,” the release said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 518 828-3344.
To contact Diane Valden email .