Deceased/Not Found PA - Katherine Dolan Heckel, 40, Lock Haven, 15 July 1991 *Arrest*

Discussion in '1990's Missing' started by Sinsaint, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Sinsaint

    Sinsaint New Member

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    The Doe Network:
    Case File 1958DFPA

    Katherine Dolan Heckel
    Missing since July 15, 1991 from Lock Haven, Clinton County, Pennsylvania
    Classification: Endangered Missing

    Vital Statistics
    •Age at Time of Disappearance: 40 years old
    •Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'5"; 140 lbs.
    •Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Dark brown, shoulder-length, curly hair. Wears contact lenses. Pierced ears.
    •Clothing/Jewelry: A sleeveless, maroon print dress. She was wearing gold and diamond engagement and wedding rings.
    •AKA: Kathy

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Katherine Heckel, of the Mill Hall area, was last seen on Monday, July 15, 1991 as she was leaving her office at the International Paper Company in Lock Haven, where she worked as as an IP management secretary. Heckel called her two children, both now adults and living outside the area, just before lunch on July 15, 1991, told them she planned to run errands and would be eating alone.

    She left to go to lunch, driving her car out of the parking lot, but never returned. No one has reported seeing her since she left for lunch. She was reported missing by family members the following day. She didn't have money or personal belongings with her, and her financial accounts had not been used or emptied.

    Her car was found on Thursday, July 17, 1991 at 22:30, near the Lock Haven Hospital, but did not contain any evidence of any consequence.

    The search for Heckel began with police, local firefighters, volunteers, horse-mounted search crews and canine rescue teams scouring the nearby forests and rural areas for weeks looking for clues and evidence.

    Kathy was a married mother of two children. Her husband, a full-time National Guard member, was away at a 2-week training exercise at the time and is not a suspect in her disappearance. Kathy grew up in Blanchard and lived with her husband and two children in Mill Hall.

    Shortly after Heckel disappeared, police announced they had a suspect, who was identified as a male coworker whom Heckel had been seeing socially. Police seized his van, which was seen leaving the Hammermill plant about the same time as Heckel's car. Traces of human blood of the same type as Heckel's were found on carpet in the van. Also found in the van were a box of .25-caliber ammunition, a hunting knife, a partial roll of duct tape and two athletic bags. A .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol was found in the man's desk at the paper plant. The man denies any involvement in the disappearance of Heckel.

    Foul play is suspected. To date, no arrests have been made.

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1958dfpa.html

    Articles (including Katherine's photo)

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/conte...y-of-a-missing-LH-woman-remains-unsolved.html (Katherine's photo is on the right)

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/conte...Kathy-Heckel-case-gets-a-new-set-of-eyes.html

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/504781/Fresh-eyes-on-old---not-cold---case.html

    On a personal note, I have no connection to this case other than this..... Katherine's daughter was a year behind me in school (we had Spanish together) and her son was a few years younger than me. I was not what you would call friends with either but I did feel bad for them as many of the kids we went to school with were more than willing to relay whatever hurtful things they heard other adults say. I also remember seeing Katherine chaperoning at a school dance and also at a basketball game or wrestling match (can't remember which). She was a beautiful woman who seemed completely dedicated to her kids. Definately not someone who would just walk away. I thought that the first time I saw the news report about her disappearance.

    As for the rest of this, it's mostly talk or rumors I overheard from adults. Whether it was reported in the paper or not I can't confirm. The local paper here doesn't have news articles from 1991 available on-line (but I'm not opposed to checking the mircofiche at the local library if it comes to that). I remember hearing there was blood in her car. The papers now report nothing of evidentiary value was in her car. Whether that means there was no blood is something I don't know.

    When it comes to the two most likely people involved I will leave them namesless. I will only refer to them as husband and boyfriend. Blood was found in the boyfriend's van (or the supposed boyfriend; he denies there was a relationship at all) on the floor carpet, the middle backseat and a dome light matching her blood type. DNA was not widely used at that time. I know DNA is now widely used but not in this case which leads me to believe the blood evidence was either not collected properly or not stored properly. There are living children so their DNA could be used to compare to the blood in question, assuming there is testable blood samples from the suspect's vehicle. As far as I know the van was not confiscated and there are no reports as to whether blood samples or items such as carpeting or seats were removed. As I said (although possibly wrong) I believe the blood evidence from the van is gone.

    It was also rumored (possibly reported in the paper) that the boyfriend had barrel(s) of chemicals at his home that could disintegrate a body.

    Kathy Dolan Heckel - Cold Case Investigations

    Someone from this website also mentioned the chemicals so I assume at some point it was reported unless that poster is also a local. I also heard the suspect lived in Renovo (can't confirm). The road leading to that town from Lock Haven has a large river on one side and state game land on the other and the town itself is surrounded by miles of forest. I also heard the suspect was seen leaving Pine Creek (also a very densly wooded area) on the day she went missing. It's possible the suspect lived in Pine Creek, as I can't confirm where he lived. I've never heard that this was an actual verified sighting either. Unless his van was either very distinctive or the witness recognized the driver it's possible this was a mistaken sighting having nothing to do with the case.

    And this last part is pure rumor. The adults I overheard discussing this case claimed the husband's alibi wasn't as air tight as it seemed and some people questioned his apparent disinterest with his wife being missing (again, I have no idea how he acted, if he was actively involved in the search, seemed concerned, etc). People claimed that because he was a "career" National Guard member his two week training was a formality and that he actually could have came and went as he pleased without anyone noticing. Whether that is actually possible I don't know. It's just what I heard. I do know the local authorities requested NCIS to help in the investigation a few years ago but they never said why they wanted NCIS to help. I have always wondered if the investigators were trying to verify his whereabouts but the DA here refused comment on the NCIS aspect. I imagine that because Katherine was a service member's wife NCIS might have some jurisdiction over the case so that could also be a reasonable theory about why local authorities are requesting their help.

    In any event Katherine was not officially reported missing until the following day. I imagine her husband was notified by family that same day but the exact hour is unknown. I guesstimate she left for lunch at either 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. that day. Her kids might not have even realized there was a problem until at least 4 or 5 p.m. Possibly even later. I will assume by 6:00 p.m. the kids were calling relatives and by at least 8:00 p.m. (although could be later) her husband was notified and thus accounted for by witnesses. That gives him at least eight hours after she went missing to hide the body and make the three hour trip back to training. In theory he could do it unless someone states they actually saw him at training between at least 10 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. that day. The boyfriend probably went to work the following day as expected (7 a.m. I assume) so he had roughly 20 hours to hide the body before people started paying attention to his whereabouts.

    I've also created a map of the locations of interest in this case:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208447250766798382818.0004af21a8a8cf398f45b&msa=0

    I used the satellite version just to give everyone a better idea about how easy it would be to hide a body assuming chemicals weren't used. Most of the locations (and the roads getting to them) are densly wooded areas. It's been twenty years since this woman went missing and I'm praying someone can look at this case and see something that might solve this case. Her family deserves answers.
     
    TheArtfulDetective likes this.
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  3. marycarney

    marycarney Inactive

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  4. marycarney

    marycarney Inactive

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    In looking at your map, I know that Guardsmen can train all over, even out of state/ country depending on what their unit function is. Perhaps that is why the husband was ruled out so quickly? He was somewhere so far away, and doing his stuff surrounded by witnesses.

    And as far as the notifications, cell phones were not even a remote possibility, and it could be VERY difficult to track people down - esp if the wife had the contact info rather than the children. Just thinking out loud.
     
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  5. CatFancier

    CatFancier Former Member

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  6. Sinsaint

    Sinsaint New Member

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    Yes, I know they can train all over. I had to guess based on the few service members I know and web info I could find. As I said, it's just a guess that he was close enough to home to be a viable suspect. If he was somewhere in PA or a surrounding state and had the free reign other adults suggested then he can't be ruled out. If her were further away and monitored then he's ruled out. The problem is (at least as far as web sleuthing goes) I can't figure out where he was. It was a normally scheduled two week training so I assume it would be at a base close to his troop location which is Fort Indiantown Gap. And the fact that that NCIS was requested to help with no other info offered led me to believe they were just now deciding to verify his alibi. Certainly I could be wrong on all those guesses.

    As for the hospital.... I think that is an entire fluke. I don't believe she was injured when she went there otherwise she would have driven right up to the ER doors. They have the ER entrance set up like a loading dock. All you have to do is pull up and beep. She would have known to do that if she arrived at the hospital already injured. She wouldn't have parked in the main hospital visitor lot if she were injured and needed emergency care.

    My theory is this, assuming the boyfriend is involved. She wants lunch and she wants or needs to talk to the boyfriend. She wants to do it in a place co-workers won't happen to drive by and see her and him together yet public and busy enough so that she feels safe. She's also hungry and there is a Burger King (and a gas station with food) right in between. The hospital parking lot just happens to be the perfect out of the way spot with a lunch-on-the-go spot in between. One of two things happens. She decids to eat lunch in his van. She ends up in the back, something happens and he kills her. Or, they eat in her car and that is where an initial attack happens. She's injured and dazed. He convices her he is sorry, didn't mean it, etc. He tells her to get in his van and he will drive her to the ER entrance. Once inside she is completely trapped. He either kills her there or drives off to another location to finish and get rid of the body.
     
  7. Sinsaint

    Sinsaint New Member

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    No disrespect to our current DA, the previous DAs or the investigators on the case but he didn't say anything that the last few haven't said. The Heckel case is one of those that just won't quite go away. Every new DA says pretty much the same thing..... "new eyes..... new techniques..... new informants....." but nothing ever happens. Our local paper runs a story about it every July, the current DA comments that it's a priority case and then we don't hear about it again until the following July. I'm not saying they aren't investigating. I am saying I don't think it's really a priority for them anymore. Maybe for the investigators but not the DA.
     
  8. Paradise

    Paradise Member

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  9. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen anything recent for this case but I was wondering if the husband knew about the affair prior to her disappearance. He may have been disinterested because she was (allegedly) seeing someone behind his back.
     
  10. Richrd

    Richrd Well-Known Member

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    Grand Jury Investigation Underway --- DoeNetwork 1958DFPA --- NamUs 14211

    Lock Haven, Clinton County, is in North-Central, PA.

    Day 8503

    Fri., Oct. 24th: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/in...wide_grand_jury_probing_1_1.html#incart_river

    PA State Police --- Lock Haven Barracks --- (570) 726-6000

    Doenetwork 1958DFPA -- http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1958dfpa.html:

    Poster -- Person Of Interest

    NamUs 14211 -- https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/case_report_html/14211

    A$ Alway$: PA Crime$topper$ -- 1-800-4PA-TIPS - https://www.crimewatchpa.com/crimestoppers/


    Our Support to Katherine's Loved Ones.
     
  11. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/in...wide_grand_jury_probing_1_1.html#incart_river

     
  12. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    http://wnep.com/2015/01/29/arrest-made-in-cold-case-homicide-investigation/

     
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  13. Richrd

    Richrd Well-Known Member

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    PA - Currently Awaiting Trial - Loyd Waitman Groves - W/M/65,

    For Murder of Katherine Dolan Heckel, Then 40, 15 July 1991


    Lock Haven, Clinton County, is in North-Central, PA.

    Day 8600


    Thu., Jan 29th: Fox-43 TV: http://fox43.com/2015/01/29/murder-charges-announced-in-1991-clinton-county-cold-case/ :

    Includes Defendant Photo

    Thu., Jan 29th: via OkieGranny: http://wnep.com/2015/01/29/arrest-made-in-cold-case-homicide-investigation/ :

    Includes 28 Page Grand Jury Presentment: https://localtvwnep.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/2015_01_28_groves_grandjurypresentment.pdf

    Edited To Add: Thu., Jan 29th: Again via OkieGranny:

    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/01/arrest_made_in_1991_cold_case.html

    Your One-Click Source* Of Lower Court:


    ChargeS --- Bail --- Pre-Trial Confinement --- MotionS ---

    Scheduled Court DateS --- Advancement to Upper Court


    *Lower Court Criminal Docket Sheet:

    https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/docketsheets/MDJReport.ashx?docketNumber=MJ-25301-CR-0000018-2015 :


    18 § 2502 §§ A (H1) :: Murder Of The First Degree

    18 § 2502 §§ C (F1) :: Murder Of The Third Degree

    Grades of PA Crimes:
    H1 = Heinous of 1st Degree; H2
    F1 = Felony of 1st Degree; F2; F3
    M1 = Misdemeanor of 1st Degree; M2; M3
    S = Summary

    Historically, Most PA Charges Like These Are Closed-Out in Lower, Magisterial District Court,
    then Advanced, with a New Docket Number, to Upper Courts of Common Pleas.

    { A when-issued Upper Court Docket Number should resemble: CP-18-CR-0000____-2015 }

    *"Recent Entries made in the Court Filing Offices may not be
    immediately reflected on these Docket Sheets..."


    Our Salute to Decades of Law Enforcement Diligence.
     
  14. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/01/arrest_made_in_1991_cold_case.html

     
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  15. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering about this case; I'm glad they have finally arrested someone.

    From the article above
    Does this mean it will never be found? What do they suspect he did with the body? I hope it's enough to convict; the evidence presented sure seems credible and strong.
     
  16. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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  17. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news...-charged-with-murder-in-pennsylvania-1.575639

     
  18. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    http://www.pahomepage.com/story/d/story/cold-case-trial-24-years-later/90481/NhIBjO_YRkO_fWEdq4AidQ

    Excellent News!

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/569129/Loyd-Groves--bound-over-on--murder-charges.html?nav=5009

    This article is a more detailed account of the testimony used in court yesterday. Subscription to view though.
     
  19. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    The trial is expected to start sometime in 2016.

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/576296/Groves-murder-trial-expected-next-year.html?nav=5009

     
  20. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    ‘Late spring’ jury trial set in murder case: Loyd Groves awaits fate in disappearance of Kathy Heckel

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/581461/-Late-spring--jury-trial-set-in-murder-case.html?nav=5009

     
  21. JusticeWillBeServed

    JusticeWillBeServed Well-Known Member

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    Defense seeks to suppress evidence in 1991 Clinton County homicide case

    http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/02/defense_seeks_evidence_suppres.html

    Judge to decide if evidence admissible

    http://www.lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/583089/Judge-to-decide-if-evidence--admissible.html?nav=5009

     

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