A former Lyndhurst man who blames authorities for his wife’s death – and last year got into a standoff with police during a welfare check on their children -- was arrested in Fort Lee with his girlfriend over the weekend on charges of cyber harassment and violating a restraining order.
Seized along with Lee Kenworthy, 41, was Samantha Brown, 27, both of Englewood, Fort Lee police said.
Among court action that Kenworthy has taken against various people and agencies over the years is a wrongful death suit in Bergen County alleging a cover-up of what he claims was his late wife’s murder.
Shayling “Shay” Kenworthy, 38, died suddenly on Aug. 17, 2016. Her family has disputed her widower’s conspiracy theory, saying that she'd succumbed to complications from asthma.
The couple had been involved in a series of disputes with their Lyndhurst landlord, a retired Jersey City police chief. They apparently were moving out the day she died, authorities said.
Lyndhurst police initially were called by a neighbor complaining about a blocked driveway. Soon after, they said, Kenworthy called to report that his wife was having a medical episode.
Police got there first. They summoned EMS, who tried in vain to save her, responders said.
Kenworthy, whose criminal history stretches back more than a decade, established a GoFundMe page that has since been removed, as well as several YouTube videos that also were taken down and various web pages all centering on the circumstances of his wife’s death.
Police in the Ocean County town of Whiting were called on Memorial Day last year after Kenworthy reportedly refused to let child protective services workers do a welfare check on his and his late wife’s two children.
Kenworthy live-streamed on Facebook what became an hours-long standoff that finally ended with the children temporarily in state custody and him briefly lodged in a mental health facility.
Recently, Brown published screen shots of Facebook blocks and violation notices, as well as messages from a group administrator who accused her and Kenworthy of harassing him.
The administrator noted that Brown picked up the campaign after Facebook blocked Kenworthy. He threatened to notify local police.
Brown, in turn, said they'd been merely commenting.
Then came this weekend’s arrests.
Fort Lee officers looking for the two spotted them just after 9 p.m. Saturday near the Route 4 underpass on Grand Avenue, Police Capt. Ricky Mirkovic said.
Brown was taken into custody without incident, he said, but Kenworthy ran across Route 4 into a wooded area.
Officer Christopher Richter deployed his K9 partner, Bodie, who found Kenworthy in the backyard of a Rockwood Place home, the captain said.
Officers surrounded and captured Kenworthy without further incident, he said.
Without disclosing details in order to protect the victim, Mirkovic said that Kenworthy was charged with violating a final restraining order and cyber harassment, as well as resisting arrest. He remained held Tuesday in the Bergen County Jail.
Brown was charged with conspiracy and released, the captain said.
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