2 charged in death of woman found in Youghiogheny River
State police on Sunday charged two men with killing a Fayette County woman whose body was found in the Youghiogheny River in Dunbar Township.
Craig Allen Rugg, 24, of Connellsville and Paul Jerome Bannasch, 24, of Uniontown are charged with homicide in the death of Margaret “Peggy Sue” Kriek, 52, of Connellsville, District Attorney Jack Heneks said.
A group of Boy Scouts from Westmoreland County discovered Kriek's nude body floating in the Youghiogheny River at 9:44 a.m. Saturday, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Nathaniel Lieberum. She was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. by a deputy coroner.
An autopsy performed on Sunday lists the cause of death as strangulation. In addition, Kriek had injuries to her face and body, a rib fracture and cuts on her legs, torso, heels and arms.
Kriek's sister, Barbara Leonard of Connellsville, said she last saw Kriek on Friday night, when she dropped her off at her residence on McCormick Avenue. She became concerned the following morning, she said, when Kriek did not answer her phone.
“I called and called,” Leonard said. “I thought she was just sleeping in, but then the Connellsville cops came and said the state police were looking for us, and that's how we found out.”
According to the affidavit, Rugg and Bannasch were observed drinking at Sidewinder's, a bar in Connellsville, at 11:30 p.m. Friday. At 12:19 a.m. Saturday, witnesses saw them walking with Kriek by the nearby Amtrak train platform, police said.
Police found some of Kriek's clothing near the train platform, as well as drag marks and blood that led to the river, according to the affidavit. They discovered additional clothing on the riverbank.
Leonard said witnesses have told her that the two men dragged her sister against her will from the bar.
“She was trying to be nice to those guys, and they were being mean to her,” Leonard said. “They literally dragged her out of the bar, grabbed her by her arms and dragged her right out. It's horrible, really horrible.
“We can't figure out why didn't somebody (at the bar) go over and say, ‘Stop being mean to her,' and take her off of them? That shows you how people don't want to get involved,” she said.
Leonard said her sister was a kind-hearted person who was always helping others and would have given the two men “whatever they wanted.”
“She would load up her own food and walk it to the other side of town to give to whoever called her, saying they needed food,” she said.
Leonard is asking anyone who saw her sister or the men at the bar to call state police.
“Please don't hesitate to call,” Leonard said. “If anyone has any information, please call them.”
In addition to homicide, Rugg and Bannasch are charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful restraint and abuse of a corpse.
Rugg and Bannasch were arraigned before Connellsville District Judge Ronald J. Haggerty Jr. They are being held in the Fayette County Prison without bond.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. Steel, Penguins, government leaders call press conference at Consol
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Iraqi family, torn apart for opposing Saddam, reunites in Pittsburgh
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- CT scans can find smokers’ lung cancer early
- NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
- Stores creating Thanksgiving dine-and-dash dilemma
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- Horse racing industry banks on Wolf
- Pitt notebook: Chryst keeps Panthers motivated amid adversity
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth