The wife of an NYPD officer who killed himself after shooting dead her lover – a 20-year-old Wendy’s worker – was seen casually walking around in public for the first time since her husband’s murder-suicide.
Alexandra Vanderheyden, 35, was spotted in Port Jarvis, New York, looking relaxed as she was carrying what seemed to to be a blanket and a light blue bag outside her home on a sunny day.
An anonymous male friend and a female friend were pictured accompanying her, walking empty handed from the parked car. The two friends were seen arriving at Vanderheyden’s home together in a gray Volvo sedan.
On Sunday, Vanderheyden had allegedly been with her 20-year-old boyfriend Edward Wilkins at a hotel before he was gunned down at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant parking lot in Wallkill, New York, by her jealous husband, NYPD officer Sean Armstead, 36, who then turned the gun on himself at around 10:30 p.m.
Armstead had been with the department since 2011 and was assigned to a Bronx public housing complex.
Police sources suggest Armstead called in sick before committing the murder-suicide, saying the shooting was likely ‘premeditated.’
They added that he tailed Wilkins on suspicion the young man was sleeping with his wife, 35-year-old Alexandra Vanderheyden.
Vanderheyden, who grew up in Illinois, apparently met Wilkins when she hired him to work at the dog walking business she owns.
It’s unclear when Armstead became suspicious of this wife, but on May 8 he followed Wilkins and Vanderheyden on a date in Walkill, where the cheating couple spent some time in a La Quinta Inn, then had dinner and popped in to a Dave & Busters sports bar, according to the New York Post.
The wife told police that she believes Armstead tracked her through her cell phone.
Wilkins, who appears to have juggled jobs as a Wendy’s employee and dog walker, appears to have been an exercise fanatic who was focused on self improvement, according to his TikTok.
Milton Cabán, 60, who hired Wilkins in 2020 as a shift manager at the Wendy’s in Middletown, NY said he was an upbeat young man who was going places.
‘He was a hard worker, full of ambition,’ Cabán said. ‘He was a go-getter.’
Cabán said that Wilkins, who was just 19 when he was hired, came with high recommendations and worked to gain his trust to close the restaurant at 2 a.m.
‘It’s a lot of responsibility. Everything falls on you. You have to deal with customers and cleaning up. He could do it. He wanted to grow, he wanted to move up in the company. He was a high achiever.’
One video, titled ‘Keep Grinding: 5 habits that are going to make me more successful than you,’ shows him doing yoga and meditation, taking online courses in business, studying cryptocurrency, NFT and stocks, exercising and focusing on his personal development.
Another video that admonishes ‘Don’t be scared, TAKE THE RISK’ shows him in his Wendy’s uniform crying and then flexing shirtless in the mirror.
His TikTok feed shows him to be at times self-aggrandizing and at other times self-deprecating.
‘I’m kinda like Spider-Man except I’m not and I work at Wendy’s in upstate New York,’ he posted from the bathroom at the Wendy’s.
‘He was a friendly guy,’ Cabán said. ‘He was happy-go-lucky. He was only 19 when he started.’
The Wendy’s manager said that he was no fast food lothario. Wilkins had a girlfriend when he worked there.
‘He was professional,’ Cabán said.
In another shirtless posting he says, ‘I’m 19 about to close on my first property.’
‘Imma be gone soon,’ he says in another eerie post from last December. ‘Claim your spot as a real friend while you can.’
Other social media videos show him working out in his home gym.
His former co-workers were stunned by the news of his murder.
‘Everyone was shocked by it,’ Cabán said. ‘I’m at a loss for words.’
Colleen Call, 35, another one of Wilkins managers at Wendy’s said he never played himself up as a lady’s man.
‘I’m 35 and I’m a single woman and he’s never acted inappropriate in any way shape or form,’ she said. ‘We employ mostly woman and I’ve never seen him act flirty. He was quiet.’
The 20-year-old’s life was cut short on May 8, after Armstead followed Wilkins and Vanderheyden when they left their dinner date at Dave & Busters sports bar.
Police sources say that Armstead’s behavior showed that he had planned to track down his wife and her lover Sunday night.
‘He was supposed to report to work that night, but he called in sick saying his wife was in the hospital,’ a police source told DailyMail.com on Tuesday. ‘Clearly, this was premeditated. He knew what he was going to do. That was his whole plan, to take out the victim then kill himself.’
Sean Armstead’s colleagues at the NYPD were left shaking their heads, after learning that he allegedly hunted down his wife and the 20-year-old man she was allegedly bedding.
‘Everybody’s saying he’s a f**ked up dude, that he should know better,’ another NYPD source said.
Wilkins and Vanderheyden got into separate cars and that’s when Armstead sped after the young lover in a grey Dodge Charger, slamming into his car just outside the Buffalo Wild Wings.
A guest at the neighboring Super 8 hotel said she heard the smash and saw Wilkins jump out of his car with Armstead chasing after him.
After a volley of gunshots, the younger man slumped to the floor in a parking spot.
‘I heard eight shots. The cop shot him multiple times until he was dead,’ said the shaken guest, who would only give her first name, Jennifer.
‘Then the cop, in shooting himself, landed on top of the body. They were both on top of one another in the same spot in a pool of blood.
‘The woman was screaming and running in and out of Buffalo Wild Wings. She was crying hysterically, it looked like she was going to pass out.
‘Upon arrival, officers discovered two deceased males in the parking lot,’ the statement said. The first victim was identified as Armstead, 36, and the second, Wilkins, of Wurtsboro, New York.
‘A Glock 19 handgun and several spent shell casings were found at the scene,’ the statement added.
The Town of Wallkill Police Department said in a statement that officers responded to a report of a shooting at 567 Route 211 East at 10:34pm Sunday.
‘People were still there cleaning up the blood at 4:30am,’ Jennifer said.
Armstead’s wife was not thought to have been harmed in the shooting that unfolded around 10:40pm. The couple’s marital $450,000 home in Port Jervis, 40 miles from Wallkill, was being guarded by multiple police cars Monday morning.
Vanderhayden’s older brother Joseph told DailyMail.com that his heart goes out to the families of the two dead men.
‘This has been a very devastating tragedy for the victims and the families involved,’ he said. ‘Our family in particular has been directly impacted by the traumatic events that occurred.’
Wilkins’s loved ones gathered at his home in nearby Mamakating, New York but declined to comment when approached by DailyMail.com.
Vanderheyden told investigators she believes that Armstead tracked her through her cell phone
A front desk worker at La Quinta said she was not allowed to discuss the harrowing incident.
Local reports suggest the incident began with a search for a shooting suspect but soon transitioned into a murder inquiry as two bodies were covered over with tarps.
It’s believed multiple agencies, including the New York state Police and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office are assisting the probe and that the NYPD has been briefed on the double fatality.
Online records state Armstead has been a cop for 11 years and was on a salary of $105,000.
The veteran officer, in his mid-30s, racked up five complaints involving his use of physical force and alleged abuse of authority but none were upheld, according to publicly available disciplinary records.
Armstead also made the news in June 2016 when he was mugged while walking his dog in Harlem. The off-duty cop was punched and beaten by four men who fled with his wallet and NYPD identification card.
A neighbor who identified himself only by first name, Gary, said he was shocked to hear about the allegations.
He said of Sean and his wife, ‘Both were always friendly, always waving to say hello. I never heard yelling or anything to suggest something was wrong.’
‘They we’re always coming and going, always seemed to be doing something,’ he said. ‘They weren’t the types to just sit on the couch.’
As he spoke on his deck, police set up yellow crime tape to keep traffic away from Armstead’s residence.
Meanwhile, another local man stopped by with a pickup truck to drop off plastic barrels to block the road.
The man told DailyMail.com that Sean’s wife herself called him with the request. ‘She called for a little help to keep people away,’ he said.
Sean Armstead was living with his wife in a log cabin for the past five years, according to Gary. They had set up a dog boarding business on their property. Dogs could be heard yelping in the background.
‘He would hire local kids to walk the dogs,’ Gary said.
Gary said Sean had told him he was a police officer, and Gary noted he too has cops in his family.
‘It just doesn’t make any sense,’ he said of the apparent murder-suicide. ‘People just don’t take time to reflect if something upsets them.’They live in a sleepy rural town nearly two hours from NYC. ‘It doesn’t matter where you live,’ Gary said. ‘You just can’t get away from the craziness.’