Sunday, February 24, 2013
While it is widely believed that serial killer Edward Surratt is responsible for the deaths of Richard and Donna Hyde, he never admitted to the slayings nor was he ever charged.
Richard Hyde, the principal of Fern Hollow Elementary School in Moon Township, was talking with a friend on the phone in the bedroom of his home he shared with his wife, Donna and two daughters. That was about 1 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, 1977. During the conversation, he heard glass break in a window on the other end of his ranch home. After hanging up, he walked past a nightstand that contained a loaded gun and proceeded to the hallway, according to a story in the Beaver County Times. A 12-gauge shotgun blast ripped through his chest/abdomen area. He staggered to the kitchen, past his wife who was in a bathroom off the hallway, and died in a pool of blood on the linoleum floor of the kitchen. Donna, a beautician who had a shop in her home…
Sunday, February 10, 2013
A man's body was found near Old Route 40 in Washington County in February 1972. The death was ruled a homicide, but authorities have never been able to identify the man.
- POLICE & FIRE
Sunday, February 10
An Avella resident was hitchhiking on Old Route 40 in Donegal Township, Washington County, about 9:20 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, 1972 when he spotted the badly decomposed body of a man. The man was down an embankment, about 65 feet south of the roadway. His skeletal remains were found in a briar thicket, near a small trash dump, about two miles west of Claysville. It was estimated that he had been there for about 8 to 10 weeks. The man's death was ruled a homicide, according to the Pennsylvania Missing Persons website. The man had gunshot wounds in his left torso, possibly from a .22-caliber weapon. While details about the man's appearance and clothing are many, there are no clues as to who he was, where he came from or why he died. The man …
Saturday, November 24, 2012
These cases in the Pittsburgh area did not have a happy ending, but finding those missing persons might have brought closure to families.
As early as this July, people in the law enforcement community knew that the remains of Amanda Sue Myers of Pittsburgh had been identified through DNA comparison. However, it was only last week when Pittsburgh police finally released the news. In July, two separate sources told Patch that Amanda had been identified but that police wanted to hold off on releasing information until some interviews had been conducted. Amanda, who was 22 at the time of her death, was last seen in Pittsburgh at the end of 1999 but may have been in Florida and Tennessee as late as April 2000. She was not reported missing until 2007, according to the Pennsylvania Missing Persons website. Known unofficially as Homestead Jane Doe, Amanda was found deceased on Oct…
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The murder of the 30-year-old secretary from Penn Hills has never been solved.
Long Road in Penn Hills gets a fair amount of morning rush hour traffic—school and Port Authority buses, along with commuters leaving their homes and heading for their jobs in Pittsburgh. Weekday mornings, at the end of Long Road, cars often form a line waiting to make a left hand turn at the Churchill Valley Country Club onto Beulah Road. As they drive up the hill, they pass the Blackridge Civic Association clubhouse and then, at the top of the hill, intersect with the Parkway East or Penn Avenue toward Wilkinsburg. When Barbara Jean Lewis graduated from Penn Hills High School in 1964, she had her eye on a secretarial career. Her dream to enter the business world came true. She was a secretary at the downtown Pittsburgh offices of …
Friday, October 19, 2012
Online records show that Brandon Daniel Thomas was arraigned early Friday and remanded to the Washington County Jail.
Washington police charged an Upper St. Clair man with a single count of homicide stemming from the shooting death Thursday of a 55-year-old Washington man in a grocery store parking lot. The Observer-Reporter newspaper indicated that Brandon Daniel Thomas, 30, is accused of fatally shooting Vaughn A. Simonelli. Online court records show that Thomas was arraigned at 4 a.m. Friday before district Judge Mark Wilson and remanded to the Washington County Jail after being denied bail, according to online court records. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Thomas on Oct. 24, online court records show. "The victim was involved in altercation with another male that led to gunfire in the parking lot of Shop n’ Save (in Washington)," …
Saturday, September 29, 2012
This 22-year-old Dormont woman was killed in 1989 on her way home from a party in Mt. Lebanon. Her mutilated body found in the backyard of a house on Voelkel Avenue near the light rail transit tracks.
Today, 23 years after her death, people in Dormont are still talking about what happened to Catherine Corkery. The 22-year-old left a party in Mt. Lebanon at the Academy Avenue home of Sam Amado on July 22, 1989 and headed home to the apartment she shared with a boyfriend, Tim Rooney, on Ordinance Avenue. But she never made it. Somewhere along the light-rail transit tracks when the "T" runs, Corkery met her attacker. She was just 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighed just 100 pounds. That person twisted a rope-like restraint around her throat and pulled her to the tracks, splitting her head open when it struck a rail, the Tribune-Review reported. In a 1997 story, the newspaper quoted Allegheny County Homicide Sgt. Nicholas Bruich, the lead case …
Monday, June 4, 2012
Zandy Dudiak won a third place award for a story about the kidnap-murder cold case of Beth Lynn Barr, of Wilkinsburg.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Zandy Dudiak, associate regional editor of Western Pennsylvania Patch Region 2, won third place for enterprise reporting in the statewide Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone State Professional Chapter's 2012 Spotlight Awards. Her winning entry was "Kidnap-Murder Case 'Still Not A Lost Cause' 34 Years Later," which interwove the story of a woman who was approached by a man at a public bus stop just hours before 7-year-old Beth Lynn Barr was kidnapped on her way home from school the same day just blocks away—and how the two incidents might be related. The story was the first time the woman at the bus stop had been interviewed about the 1977 case. The award was presented Saturday in a ceremony at the Wyndham in Gettysburg, PA.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The ‘woman at the bus stop’ tells her story about the day a Wilkinsburg schoolgirl disappeared on Thanksgiving eve 1977.
Editor’s note: The identity of the woman interviewed for this story is being withheld for her safety. The woman stood alone at about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 23, 1977, at a Port Authority Transit stop in Wilkinsburg, waiting for the bus that would take her to her job in downtown Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old had grown up in Wilkinsburg, and she and her husband had purchased a property on nearby Rebecca Avenue, which they were remodeling. The bus stop was close by on Ardmore Boulevard. As she waited in the chilly November air, a motorist pulled his car off the street, partially into an alley and onto the paved area of an auto repair garage—right next to her. “To the best of my recollection,” the woman said, during an interview last week, “... he …