York County DA plans review of handling of Vicosa kidnap, murder case

York Dispatch
Robert Vicosa

UPDATE: Police Chief Tim Damon faces private criminal complaint in Vicosa murder-suicide

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday confirmed Monday that a multi-agency review of the handling of the murder of the Vicosa sisters would be coming.

Sunday also referred to the state Attorney General's Office the matter of a protection-from-abuse order that issued prior to the kidnapping. York Area Regional Police Chief Timothy Damon faces a private criminal complaint, filed Nov. 15, in relation to that PFA.

York Area Regional had no comment on the complaint.

Sunday declined to comment on the details of the criminal complaint or the allegations against the department.

"There are tactical and strategic decisions that police make every day," the prosecutor said, "and those are questions that would have to go to the individuals that made those decisions."

Robert Vicosa, a former Baltimore County cop, abducted his daughters, 6-year-old Aaminah and 7-year-old Giana, last week from a home in Windsor Township with the help of an alleged accomplice, Baltimore County Sgt. Tia Bynum.

All were discovered shot inside a stolen Ford Edge following a police pursuit in which the car drifted off the road about 2:30 p.m. Thursday and crashed in a shallow ditch outside the small town of Ringgold, Maryland, just south of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

In his comments, Sunday called Vicosa's actions a "selfish and senseless act of violence that has shaken each and every one of us to our core." 

Sunday said the community must vehemently and aggressively attack domestic violence. The events that led to the murder-suicide began as domestic violence, he said. 

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Child Abduction Response Effort Team and others including the York Area Regional Police, the District Attorney's office will establish a committee to review best practices, procedures and protocols for the safe execution of PFAs and any other means of safely enforcing domestic violence laws.

"The reality is, there is evil in this, and on even the very best of days and circumstances, law enforcement cannot prevent every instance of evil or thwart every plan," Sunday said. "But when tragedy occurs, we must identify any means that may exist to minimize outcomes such as this." 

As public officials and first responders, Sunday said it's their responsibility to do a deep dive to understand what happened, when it happened, if different choices could be made and what to do so in the future, it minimizes the probability of a tragic outcome.

When asked if the details of that analysis would be made public or if an outside or independent consultant would do that analysis, Sunday said the situation was still very fluid and that is still to be determined.

In a statement of solidarity sent Monday, various non-profits devoted to children's justice, domestic violence prevention and victim advocates expressed their anger and sorrow over the deaths of Aaminah and Giana, as well as the rape of their mother by Vicosa.

"We underscore that Giana and Aaminah, like too many children in Pennsylvania and across the United States, remain unshielded from domestic and sexual violence," the statement reads. "Such violence is omnipresent and still too normalized in our families, schools, workplaces, houses of worship and society overall.

"We vow the loss of Giana and Aaminah will not result in momentary mourning, but rather will renew and strengthen our resolve to protect children and prevent violence in homes and communities."

You can watch the press conference below: