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Acquaintance 'of interest' in slaying of dentist

Amherst police have questioned a possible suspect in the stabbing death of a 64-year-old dentist last week, but no charges have been filed, as investigators continue their search for the killer, authorities and sources said Tuesday.

Hours after emergency crews were unable to revive Dr. Joseph D. Matteliano in his Kim Circle home Thursday, detectives questioned a younger man, described as someone who knew Matteliano.

"He remains somebody of particular interest," one police source said, adding that detectives are following through on all leads.

Top Amherst police officials did not describe the man as a possible suspect in the case.

"This is a person who we know was a friend or acquaintance of the victim," Capt. Timothy M. Green said. "He came in here, we talked to him, and he left."

Green emphasized that detectives have talked with other people who knew Matteliano.

"My personal opinion is that talking to people who knew the victim and knew the victim's associates and friends, that's probably going to be fruitful for us," the captain added.

Matteliano called police at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday to say he had been stabbed. Police think that the attack occurred in Matteliano's home, but they are not providing any details about the attack or the weapon used.

Detectives said they think that Matteliano probably was killed by someone he knew. There was no evidence of any forced entry, burglary or robbery.

"We don't think it was random," Green said. "Somebody didn't choose that house out of all the houses in Amherst and commit this crime."

Green also cleared up one possible public misunderstanding. Several reports have indicated that after the killing, police removed Matteliano's vehicle from the driveway, after it was found with its lights on and perhaps its engine running.

If so, detectives think the lights or the engine could have been triggered by a police radio transmission.


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