Share This Page

Manhunt in South Huntingdon called off Monday night, to resume Tuesday

| Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
A State Police vehicle blocks the road at the intersection of Turkeytown and Branthoover Roads in South Huntingdon Township on Monday, October 28, 2013.

An intensive manhunt on Monday by state and local law-enforcement agencies for a Sewickley Township man who fled from sheriff's deputies and ran into a wooded area of South Huntingdon, will resume on Tuesday after being called off Monday night, Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held said.

The search for George C. Hayden III, 21, of Herminie will resume with law-enforcement personnel obtaining information from friends and family of the suspect, Held said.

“We have searched a lot of acreage,” Held said at 8:30 p.m.

The search area included dense woods, fields and corn fields.

State police as well as police from West Newton and Smithton joined the sheriff's deputies, the Greensburg Fire Department bloodhound team and a state police helicopter in searching along Turkeytown Road. That search evolved into a rescue operation because Hayden suffered an injury during his flight, Held said. Authorities learned of Hayden's injury when he made cell phone calls to family and friends, Held said.

Lou Battistella, captain of the fire department's bloodhound team, said their dog caught a scent of the suspect. Battistella said he could not make additional comments about the search.

The search began at about 11 a.m. when sheriff's deputies spotted Hayden at the residence of Michael Smalich of 442 Turkeytown Road, as the suspect was driving into Smalich's driveway, Held said. The deputies had gone to Smalich's residence to serve a bench warrant on Hayden for failing to appear for an Oct. 17 hearing on drug possession charges before Westmoreland County Judge Alfred Bell, Held said. The sheriff's department had learned that Hayden was friends with a female member of the Smalich family, Held said.

In addition to failing to show for his court hearing, Hayden is a suspect in an armed robbery at the Comfort Inn at 106 Blair Ave., New Stanton, at 9:50 p.m. Sunday, Held said.

The robber threatened the clerk with a gun and demanded money, taking about $260, state police at Greensburg said.

The robbery suspect was a white man in his 20s who wore a black trench coat, black hat, gloves and a bandana over his face, state police said.

Police discovered a black pellet gun, clothing and a bandana in the car Hayden drove to the Smalich residence, Held said.

Held described Hayden as being about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds.

Hayden also failed to appear before West Newton District Judge Charles Christner for a hearing Monday on simple assault charges, Held said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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.