Authorities have been curiously shy about pursuing the murder case against dad CHRISTOPHER SMELTZER.
Child’s therapy records focus in Auburn murder probe
By JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
Published Aug 2, 2011 at 3:00 am (Updated Aug 1, 2011)
A judge may now be reviewing therapy records related to the pending murder case against Christopher Smeltzer, 38, of Auburn, who is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife, Mara Pappalardo.
BRENTWOOD — A judge may be reviewing a young girl’s therapy records, documents that the state wants to obtain to aid in the murder investigation of Mara Pappalardo, 39, and the homicide of her 4-year-old son, Mason.
The girl’s father, Christopher Smeltzer, 38, is being held without bail on second-degree murder charges in connection with the bludgeoning death of Pappalardo with a flashlight sometime between Aug. 7 and 8 at the couple’s Auburn home.
Smeltzer has yet to be indicted for his wife’s murder nearly a year after the crime, according to court records.
And no one has been charged in connection with Mason Smeltzer’s death.
Prosecutors and a variety of other lawyers tied to the case met behind closed doors with Judge Tina Nadeau on July 6 over a dispute about sharing the therapy records with investigators from the state Attorney General’s Office.
Nadeau issued an order last week for the “production of records for (an) in camera review,” according to a court record which catalogs public and sealed documents in the case.
The judge’s order and arguments over the records are sealed so no further information is known about the judge’s decision.
The Union Leader has learned that the records are regarding Smeltzer and Pappalardo’s daughter, Mercy, 7, whom police found in the home after the murder.
Affidavits and search warrants related to Christopher Smeltzer’s arrest have also remained sealed by a district court judge since last year. The judge decided the records can remain sealed prior to indictment or at least until the state deems it no longer necessary to keep them closed, the order says.
Prosecutors have described the investigation into the two deaths as ongoing, but have routinely refused to speak about the case otherwise.
Lawyers for the Division for Children, Youth and Families and another lawyer representing a non-profit counseling organization have also filed responses to the state’s request.