TribLIVE

| State

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Charges added against Crawford County man in gruesome slaying

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
 

MEADVILLE — Authorities have filed new charges — including first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse — against a man already jailed in the death of his daughter's longtime boyfriend, whose headless remains investigators believe were those found in a metal drum last month.

Richard Houy, 68, of Cambridge Springs, was arraigned on the new charges and faces a preliminary hearing Oct. 16. Online court records don't list an attorney for him.

Houy was charged with criminal homicide last week in the death of 55-year-old Gerald VanDyke, after a body — missing its head and hands — was found in a steel drum. Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz said he has no doubt the remains are VanDyke's, though results of DNA tests to confirm that were still pending.

State police on Thursday reported finding scrapped but “identifiable pieces” of VanDyke's 2003 Dodge pickup, which had not been seen since he was reported missing Sept. 15 by his longtime girlfriend, Tina Skelton, and her parents, Houy and his wife, Sandra.

Richard Houy became a suspect after police investigated two anonymous calls they received on Sept. 18, claiming VanDyke was leaving town and didn't want anyone to know where he was headed. When recordings of the calls were played for VanDyke's son, police were told the voice sounded like Houy's.

That led police to interview Houy, his wife and his daughter on Sept. 25, at which time Houy acknowledged making the calls but wouldn't explain why, police said in a criminal complaint. While his wife and daughter were being interviewed, Houy allegedly asked another trooper outside the Erie barracks whether he could go home and “get his affairs in order.”

“Richard Houy stated he wanted to see his family and go home and get his tools together because he knew he was going to jail for life,” according to the complaint.

Police said Houy initially told them he dumped VanDyke's body in a creek after he punched VanDyke during a dispute, who fell and hit his head. But police now believe VanDyke was fatally shot or stabbed with a hunting arrow, then partially dismembered with a chain saw Houy borrowed, based on information provided by his wife and daughter.

Schultz said he wouldn't rule out additional charges against Houy or others.

“We'll continue to investigate whether he had any assistance before, during and after” VanDyke's killing, Schultz said.

Sandra Houy did not immediately return a message left on her home answering machine Thursday. The Associated Press could not immediately locate a phone number for Skelton.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. Casey, Coons become 32nd, 33rd senators to back nuclear deal with Iran
  2. Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
  3. State’s high court rules in favor of turnpike worker, will get another chance to prove his firing violated whistlebower laws
  4. Ex-LCB official Short to plead guilty to soliciting, concealing kickbacks from vendors
  5. Conneaut Lake Park wants to sell some land
  6. Pennsylvania welfare employees targeted in crackdown
  7. Pa. Gov. Wolf: Big changes needed in troubled school district
  8. Democrats stand firm, deny GOP the margin needed in Pa. budget battle
  9. Kane received sensitive emails on personal account
  10. Grieving pet owners find loving support in Pennsylvania group
  11. Pa. to kick off online registration