Cheryl Kunkle, the woman who beat her boyfriend, Ben Amato, to death with a baseball bat, will be profiled on an episode of Snapped on the Oxygen Channel. Ben Amato was a 52-year-old Pennsylvania man who was found dead in his home in 2001. The case of Ben Amato went cold for several years, until a break in the case came after Cheryl Kunkle’s son, 18-year old Gregory Rowe, was arrested for killing his girlfriend and their baby. Snapped will interview a close friend of Ben Amato, along with police investigators who are familiar with the case file.
Oxygen’s Snapped will divulge intimate details about the life of Ben Amato, who, by all accounts, loved Cheryl Kunkle. Those who knew them say Ben seemed like the perfect fit for Cheryl. He was strong, she was strong. She liked rugged sports, and so did he. Though there was a bit of an age difference between them, they seem to get along well. But, eventually, the cracks in the relationship became apparent. Cheryl seemed to be bored with Ben, and before long, they began fighting over custody of a small child they had together, according to the Times Leader.
The situation became more bizarre after Benjamin Joseph Amato was found dead at the bottom of the stairs inside his home located at 69 Sundance Drive in the Chestnut Hill Township, a community in the Poconos, according to the Snapped teaser. Law enforcement investigators learned that Amato was depressed and sad over the break up with his ex-girlfriend, Cheryl Kunkle. And a review of old newspapers from that time indicates that in the days after police located his body, some believed that it was a suicide. But an autopsy report later confirmed that he had been beaten to death. From there, the case went cold.
In May 2004, police got a break in the case after Gregory Rowe, Cheryl Kunkle’s son, killed his girlfriend, 17-year old Kristin Fisher, and their 7-month old baby, Kaylee in their Polk County home. The victims were found by Kristin Fisher’s mother, who lived at the residence with her daughter and grandchild. When police arrived at the crime scene, they found Kristin Fisher with a rope around her neck, and her baby was found dead in the bathtub. A court document held at the Pennsylvania Courthouse describes the finding of the body this way.
“On May 4, 2004, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Kathleen Fisher returned home from work to the house she shared with her daughter Kristin and granddaughter, Kaylee. She opened the garage door and found Kristin lying on the floor next to an overturned stool. Kristin was unconscious and a rope was tied around her neck into a noose. Kathleen called 911 and went through the house to look for her granddaughter. She found Kaylee floating face down in a bathtub full of water. Police responded to the scene and the county coroner pronounced Kristin and Kaylee dead.”
An autopsy report confirmed that Fisher had been strangled to death with the rope, and baby Kaylee was drowned. Kristin Fisher’s mother, Kathleen Fisher, told detectives that Gregory Rowe was supposed to come to the home that day to talk to Kristin. Authorities say the mother and daughter were murdered to keep Kristin Fisher from going to child support court. Upon his arrest, Gregory Rowe told investigators that he had knowledge of the murder of Ben Amato, and that his mother was the one who wanted him dead. Kathleen Fisher was devastated by the loss of her daughter and granddaughter, and the connection to a prior murder case was strange. She makes the following statement, according to the Pocono Record.
“Kristin was my only daughter. She was born on Christmas and she was the greatest gift I ever got.”
About the Poconos of Pennsylvania
The Poconos is an idyllic place, with rolling mountains and lush forests. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone, according to the locals. With over 2,000 square miles of beautiful waters, including rivers, lakes, and waterfalls, “The Poconos,” also known as the Pocono Mountains, makes it a very attractive place for tourists.
Don’t forget to watch Snapped tonight at 9/8 central on Oxygen.
[Image via Snapped/Facebook]