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Police: New Stanton teen admits to slaying mother, brother

| Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, 8:57 a.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The Westmoreland County Coroner arrives on scene after being called to a home on Thermo Village Road in New Stanton on November 30, 2016.
Dana Remaley, 46, was found shot to death in her New Stanton home, along with her son Caleb, 8. Son Jacob, 14, stands at left. /Photo from a Hempfield Area School District publication
Dana and Caleb Remaley

A 14-year-old Hempfield Area High School student confessed Wednesday to gunning down his mother and 8-year-old brother while they slept in their beds in their New Stanton home earlier that morning, according to court documents.

Jacob Roland Remaley is charged as an adult in the slaying of Dana Remaley, 46, and her son Caleb, a third-grader at Stanwood Elementary, police said. Charges were filed Wednesday night with District Judge L. Anthony Bompiani.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jason Morgan, Jacob Remaley shot his mother and brother with a Ruger .380 handgun after his father David Remaley left their Thermo Village Road home about 5:40 a.m. to drive to work.

Jacob Remaley told the trooper that he retrieved the gun from the top of the refrigerator in the kitchen just before 7 a.m. and shot his mother once in the forehead while she slept in her bed, then went into the bedroom of his brother, Caleb, and shot him in the same manner, according to the affidavit.

Jacob Remaley told the trooper that “if his father, David, would have been in the residence at the time ... he would have shot him as well,” according to the affidavit.

Police said they were alerted to the shootings at 6:53 a.m. when Jacob Remaley called 911 from his home for help. He initially told 911 operators that his father had committed the shootings, according to the affidavit.

Upon arrival, Mutual Aid responders found Jacob Remaley in the front yard of the home with a bloody knee. They provided him with a blanket, and he went inside the house. Due to safety concerns, first responders moved away from the scene and waited for police, according to the affidavit.

After troopers arrived, Jacob Remaley was taken by ambulance to Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, where he was interviewed by police and confessed to the killings, according to the affidavit. The coroner pronounced the family members dead in their home just before 9:15 a.m.

Friends and co-workers remembered Dana Remaley as a kind, generous woman always willing to lend a hand.

She grew up in the Derry area, according to her friend of eight years, Anita Stoner of Hunker.

“Our kids go to school together,” Stoner said. “She was wonderful, kind and caring. She was that person you could call at 3 a.m. if you needed Tylenol for your kids, and if she didn't have it, she'd run to the store and buy it for you. She'd do anything for anybody.”

Stoner said Remaley was very active in C-PAT, one of the Hempfield Area School District's parent-teacher organizations.

“She was always the one heading up the fundraisers, the one at the book fairs and the grandparent breakfasts,” Stoner said.

Remaley was a personal-care assistant at West Hempfield Middle School, according to the Hempfield Area School District website. She had been an events coordinator at Stanwood Elementary School in New Stanton in September 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Patrick Lacey, the Remaleys' neighbor, said crime of any kind is rare on their quiet street of well-kept, single-family homes.

The Remaleys purchased their home in 1998, according to records in the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds office.

“I always felt safe on my street, and it's something that makes me think, you know?” Lacey told the Trib's news partner, WPXI. “Nice family, nothing you'd ever expect from them. I don't know, I'm waiting and anxious to see what the final story is.”

Lacey said, “We didn't see too much of one another, just neighborly hellos here and there.”

Counselors and psychologists will be available to students and staff members at Stanwood Elementary, West Hempfield Middle School and the high school Thursday, Superintendent Barbara J. Marin said.

“It's been very difficult for everyone,” Marin said.

Investigators scheduled a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss the case.

Reporter Patrick Varine contributed. Joe Napsha and Paul Peirce are Tribune-Review staff writers. Peirce can be reached at 724-850-2860 and Napsha can be reached at 724-836-5252.

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