Contact Us
Bergenfield Daily Voice serves Bergenfield, Dumont & New Milford
Return to your home site

Menu

Breaking News: Of All Places: SUV Crash Destroys Auto Repair Shop In Bergenfield
News

WATCH: Ex-Husband Caught On Video Urinating On Bergen County Native's Grave

A cellphone placed on a headstone recorded the man doing his business at the gravesite in Tappan, NY.
A cellphone placed on a headstone recorded the man doing his business at the gravesite in Tappan, NY. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Michael Andrew Murphy

For months now, a Bergen County man has routinely visited a cemetery just across the New York state line and urinated on the grave of a woman he was briefly married to nearly 50 years ago, her survivors say.

They have proof.

Video secretly recorded by the late Linda Torello’s son shows a man identified as Dean Eichler, 68, of Bergenfield pulling into the Tappan Reformed Church Cemetery off Old Tappan Road in an SUV.

The vehicle is left running as he approaches Torello’s grave while unzipping his fly. He looks around, then does his business.

Then he ambles back to the SUV.

Not only did Eichler not know that he was being recorded in the Rockland County graveyard. He also wasn’t aware that Michael Andrew Murphy was watching from nearby.

Murphy, of Dumont, said he set his cellphone on a nearby headstone to record the desecration of his mother’s final resting place around 6:15 a.m. this past Sunday, Sept. 18.

“I saw his car pull in. I tried to get in my car, but I was afraid I might spook him,” he said. “So I hid behind a shed.

“I could see him walking up to the grave,” he said. “Believe me, I don't know how I made it through that. I never had so much rage in my life.”

Orangetown police confirmed on Monday, Sept. 26, that they issued a summons for urinating in public.

They also said their detectives are investigating further with an eye toward possibly more serious charges.

Linda Torello's loved ones hope that happens.

“I’m sick over this. I can’t even think straight,” Murphy said Friday.

Eicher and Torello divorced in 1974 after a brief marriage, according to Murphy and his sister, Renee Eichler Barragan.

Linda Torello had became pregnant with Renee but denied responsibility for it, they explained.

The man’s family was good to Torello, however.

“They really stepped up,” Murphy said. “They loved our mom.”

They also apparently estranged Eicher and his second wife.

“His family chose my mother over his wife. He said they were all dead to him,” Murphy said. “That’s probably where the animosity comes in.”

Torello lived most of her life in Dumont and Northvale before moving to North Carolina in her mid-50s.

The 66-year-old mother of seven and grandmother of 13 was due to become a great-grandmother when she died in August 2017.

Murphy said he stopped at his mom’s grave on the way home from a job in Rockland past April and found a zip-locking deli bag with feces in it.

“I figured somebody was walking their dog and left it,” he said.

Murphy mentioned it to his sisters, but they didn’t think much of it, either, he said.

“Sure enough, three weeks later, [Renee] went and found another bag,” Murphy said.

They called police, who told them to return to headquarters if it happened again.

It did, this time in July.

It was then, Murphy said, that the family began connecting dots. Eichler had been working in the deli section of the Stop & Shop in Tenafly, seven or so miles due south from the cemetery. He'd have access to the zip-locking bags, they said.

“No one in my family has had contact with him since 1976 or so,” Murphy said. “We’re not sure how he found my mother’s grave.”

Police were immediately notified. 

Barragan also talked with cemetery officials, who she said gave permission to set up cameras.

"They have been amazing trying to help us," Barragan said.

The siblings said they captured a succession of images of the man showing up around the same time and committing the same violation four days in a row last week.

The pictures weren't crystal-clear, however.

So Murphy and Barragan went to the cemetery early last Sunday.

Using his cellphone, Murphy got a highly defined result. He shared the video on Facebook, where friends and supporters have sent prayers while praising him for his restraint.

Murphy claims police told him there wasn't much they could do. However, after the appearance of a Daily Voice story, Orangetown police announced the public urination charges and said a more in-depth investigation was underway.

Cemetery desecration is a crime in New York State if it causes damages in excess of $250. That could involve stealing from a plot, toppling, vandalizing or stealing a headstone, damaging flowers, vases or other personal items, or fully or partially digging up graves.

Related offenses include trespassing and criminal mischief. Fines and probation ordinarily follow convictions.

Murphy has met the threshold for damages after “paying a hazmat company to remove all her decorations that are soaked in urine and have the headstone properly cleaned and some of grass ripped up and replaced, plus the permits to let these companies enter the cemetery."

“It's been hard to sleep. I'll start to fall out and suddenly I wake up,” he said. “I don't care who you are. This has to make you sick. This happening to our mother….it’s horrible.”

to follow Daily Voice Bergenfield and receive free news updates.