Police: Suspect stalked Mayfield Heights woman before killing her and daughter

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio-- The neighbor of a Mayfield Heights nurse stalked her for months before killing her and her daughter, police say.

Dominique C. Swopes, 27, faces two counts of aggravated murder and aggravated arson.

Police said Rebecca Pletnewski, 41, was stabbed to death before her home on Longwood Road was set on fire on Tuesday. Firefighters pulled her daughter, 8-year-old Olivia Schneider, from an upstairs bedroom. She was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation at the hospital.

Shortly after the blaze, Swopes was detained for questioning and later released.

"He became a subject of interest that day because what family and friends had told us, that Rebecca had warned them or told them of instances of potentially stalking by the neighbor," said Police Chief Fred Bittner. "He became our primary suspect at the time after talking to family."

Pletnewski's family told investigators she had been worried about Swope's unwanted advances for months.

"He just apparently had left her notes occasionally or talked to her outside. There were other advancements made through maybe social media, and she told him she didn't want anything to do with him, she had a boyfriend," Bittner said.

Pletnewski, an intensive care nurse at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and Schneider, a third-grade student at Lander Elementary, were laid to rest on Monday. A candlelight vigil is planned for Thursday night.

Pletnewski leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter, who was not home at the time of the fire.

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