Neighbors: Christine Belford was terrified in months leading up to courthouse shooting

UPDATE: David Matusiewicz is awaiting a 1 p.m. federal court hearing for violation of supervised release. State Police have released the names of the victims and the shooter. Christine Belford and Laura Mumford, Belford’s neighbor were shot dead inside the New Castle County Courthouse on Monday.


The shooter is Belford’s ex-father-in-law, Thomas Matusiewicz.  His address was listed as Edcouch, Texas.

Troubled history

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The Newark neighbors of Christine Belford, the target of yesterday’s shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, paint a picture of someone who was in constant fear for life.

Authorities said Belford was shot to death by her father-in-law, Thomas Matusiewicz, but Belford had reason to fear her ex-husband David as well.

The two were divorced in 2006. In 2007, David kidnapped the couple’s three daughters — Karen, Laura, and Leigh. Along with his mother, Lenore, he fled with the children to Nicaragua. He was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 48 months in prison.

The couple lived in Middletown. Belford later moved to Newark, Del.

Friends and neighbors in both towns tell a similar story of her life.

“There were lots of problems in the household when they lived there,” said Tracy Campbell, who lived near Belford in Middletown. “I guess he was never going to let it go, and that is the sad part. Somebody told me today that his ex-wife had a restraining order against him.”

Campbell said David Matusiewicz trashed his former home at one point after the divorce.

Looking inside

Both homes are unassuming on the outside. Inside tells a different story in Newark.

“If you look around the house, the windows, she had all the windows secured and locked,” said neighbor Lois Dawson of Newark. “She’s got cameras all around her house, and at one time she had two German Shepherd dogs. So, she was terrified of what could happen.”

David Matusiewicz was a prominent optometrist at the time when he fled to Central America.

When his arrest was announced in 2009, authorities said he was carrying $1 million in cash. He was released to a halfway house in Texas last year. Belford’s neighbors believed Thomas and Lenore were living in Texas as well. However, they also reported that Belford believed she saw her ex-in-law’s staking out her Newark home.

There was a website set up after the 2007 kidnapping. It listed the three girls and their ages, at the time, from 2 to 5 years old. The oldest, Laura, turns 11 in May. Leigh turns 10 in September. Karen is 8 in July.

At the time of Matusiewicz’s arrest, then New Castle County Police Detective Jeff Shriner said he had made a promise to Belford at the time of the kidnapping that he would never give up.

Tracey Campbell found it “unbelievable that they let [David] out of jail for abducting his kids. … [H]e only got four years.”

David Matusiewicz awaited a hearing in federal court in Wilmington on Tuesday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Delaware said the hearing is for violation of supervised release.

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