HAWTHORNE, N.Y. – Werner Lippe told authorities he was eager to help them locate his missing wife after she vanished while running errands.
He told a newspaper reporter he was in anguish over Faith Lippe's disappearance.
But now the wealthy 66-year-old jeweler has been charged with killing the mother of two — becoming the third suburban New York husband accused of slaying his wife this week.
State Police Capt. Keith Corlett said Lippe admitted killing his third wife, and described disposing of the body "in a way that would make it difficult to locate."
A search for 49-year-old Faith Lippe's remains was under way Friday on the leafy grounds of the couple's multimillion-dollar house about 40 miles north of Manhattan, and a barbecue pit was among the sites being explored, the captain said. He would not confirm that the body had been burned.
Corlett said Lippe, who was born in Poland, told police how he killed his wife and why, but the captain would not disclose the details. He said the motive Lippe suggested was one that "nobody in this room would think was a good reason."
Lippe, who had been "very cooperative" with police from the start, sometimes offering help several times a day, made his incriminating statements during police questioning Thursday, Corlett said.
He was arraigned Friday in Cortlandt Town Court but was in the process of hiring a lawyer and did not enter a plea. He was sent to the Westchester County Jail and is due back in court on Monday.
The other two alleged wife-slayings this week were in Long Island. William Walsh of Bethpage is accused of strangling his wife, dumping her body and making it seem she had been a victim of roadside violence. David Steeves of Center Moriches allegedly slipped cyanide into his estranged wife's coffee, leaving her in intensive care for nearly two weeks before she died Friday. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Corlett say police believe Lippe killed his wife on the morning of Oct. 3; she did not show up for an appointment that morning. Her husband reported her missing the next afternoon and offered "three different versions of how she went missing," the captain said.
After she disappeared, Lippe told The Journal News, "It's hurting and killing me how my daughter is falling apart."
The couple's children, a 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, were in the care of a neighbor, Corlett said. They have had a legal guardian since the divorce proceedings went to court. The couple had been married 18 years.
Corlett said he was present when the boy learned his father was being charged, and the teen was distraught. "How else would you take the news that your father was accused of killing your mother?" the captain said.
Faith Lippe had worked as a nutrition consultant at the Ossining schools since 2004. The school district issued a statement praising her work and expressing sadness.
Werner Lippe owns a jewelry design business in Manhattan. Employees who answered the phone on Friday would not comment.
Corlett said there was no indication either of the Lippes, who owned a home in an upstate ski area and property in Utah, was having an affair.
Neighbor Cindy Marino said she didn't know Lippe, but his wife was "just a really, really, wonderful woman, a wonderful Girl Scout mom."
The National Network to End Domestic Violence says three women a day die from domestic violence in the United States. Kim Grady, president of the National Organization for Women, said Friday that domestic violence "is far more common than anyone realizes."
"These three men in New York may not get away with it, but we don't know how many cases of homicide or disappearance are really cases of domestic violence that simply can't be proved," she said.