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Missing man's kin was under scrutiny

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

Police started looking at Timothy Large Jr. the day Vernon Hayden went missing.

The Elizabeth Township officer who took a missing person report on Hayden told Allegheny County detectives he had taken previous reports indicating Large had stolen vehicles, a checkbook and alcohol from the home of Hayden, his stepgrandfather, a police affidavit states.

The next day, Dec. 11, when police found Hayden's pickup truck at the home of Large's girlfriend, county homicide detectives learned someone had tried three times -- once successfully -- to get money from ATMs with Hayden's card, the affidavit states.

Large, 30, of Forward admitted to taking Hayden's truck and wallet on Dec. 8 and using the ATM card, according to the affidavit filed to support theft and burglary charges. What happened to Hayden, 71, remains a mystery, though.

"The investigation is ongoing. We're taking it one step at a time," said Elizabeth police Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr.

Police jailed Large on a parole violation Dec. 11, when they found parts of Hayden's home in disarray and Large hiding near the pickup truck.

Large has denied having anything to do with Hayden's disappearance.

According to the affidavit:

When police arrived Dec. 10 to Hayden's Skillet Hill Road home, officers found a cooked casserole in the turned-off oven. The living room sofa cushions were misplaced, and one was missing.

A blanket and pillow that Hayden regularly used to sleep on the couch also were gone. His glasses and cell phone remained.

National City bank officials reported that someone had used Hayden's ATM card three times on Dec. 9-10. Twice someone entered a wrong PIN number. Another time someone withdrew $500 from the account.

When police arrested Large in Brentwood, he had Hayden's truck keys on him along with $328 in cash. Police found Hayden's wallet and his ATM card in the glove box.

Large told police that he went to Hayden's house Dec. 8 and took his wallet and truck keys from a kitchen counter, along with some frozen food, and then left.

He told police he dumped the pickup truck bed cap near Route 51 because he thought Hayden would have reported the truck stolen. The cap was found over a hillside in Somerset County last week.

Court records show Large was convicted of aggravated assault in Somerset County in 1996 when, according to family members, he shot a man in the back several times during an argument.

In August 2004, he pleaded guilty to escape in Westmoreland County and was sentenced to nine to 23 months in jail.

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