Palm Beach, Fla. (July 23, 2007) - Saint Leo University incoming 18-year-old freshman softball player Amanda Buckley's body was found by Palm Beach County sheriff's investigators inside the home of 26-year-old Jason Shenfeld on Ardel Drive near Jupiter last Saturday after his parents called 911. An autopsy revealed the softball star had been strangled.
Shenfeld was accused of strangling the Palm Beach Gardens High School graduate, and made his first court appearance Sunday morning in front of Judge Stephen Rapp, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Rapp denied bail and said he found probable cause and will leave it at that, according to a story in the Palm Beach Post. Sheriff's officials and federal marshals arrested Shenfeld on a warrant for first-degree murder, sexual battery and false imprisonment Saturday night.
State records show previous arrests as far back as 2000 for Shenfeld on charges of robbery, battery and drug and alcohol offenses, as well as an arrest last year on charges of sexual assault with a weapon and kidnapping.
Former Palm Beach Gardens High School teammates wore Buckley's number scrawled on athletic tape at their summer travel game in Davie on Sunday.
Buckley, who was an only child, knew Shenfeld, meeting him through friends, according to the Palm Beach Post. A friend of Buckley's said Amanda's parents had met Shenfeld once, but did not know him well and never met his family.
Buckley made newspaper headlines last year when she pitched a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts against Palm Beach Lakes during her senior year in high school. She was an outstanding player for the Gators for four years on the varsity as the starting second baseman. The daughter of Troy and Barbara Buckley helped lead her team to the Class 6A state championship in 2005 and again in 2006.
Buckley will be remembered for her outstanding defense in both state tournaments. She helped her team make the regional finals as a senior. Buckley was chosen defensive player-of-the-year every season for the Gators.
"Words can not describe how I feel at this point," said Saint Leo softball Coach Christi Wade. "I was looking forward not only to having her as a member of our team and the Saint Leo community, but
getting to know her on a personal basis and interacting with her over the next four years. She had a tremendous personality. She was a winner and had a tremendous career ahead of her as a Lion."
Hundreds of people gathered around second base at the municipal baseball field in Palm Beach Gardens Sunday night to honor her. Friends who played with her and against her in softball remembered how Buckley's magnetic personality energized both teams in a game. Sarah Harmes, who played against her for 10 years in travel ball and high school said one couldn't help but become friends with her rival, because after every pitch, she would turn around and smile, or make someone laugh, the Palm Beach Post reported.