Pennsylvania police find head on rural road, seeking body to match

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2014 1:26 PM

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - An aerial search for the embalmed body of a woman whose head was recovered this month along a lonely rural road was due to begin on Tuesday, police in western Pennsylvania said.

Police in the borough of Economy, 22 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, said they were exploring a number of theories as to how the head wound up on the roadside, including the possibility of a grave robbery or that the body was intercepted on its journey from a funeral home to a cemetery.

They have received no reports of missing bodies or disturbed graves, said Chief of Police Michael O'Brien.

"This woman had been laid to rest," O'Brien said in a statement. "She is someone's loved one."

A sketch done by an Edinboro University art professor showed how the woman might have looked in life: she appeared to be about 50 years old, with short gray hair that had been styled, police said.

An Economy resident found the head in a wooded area while out for a walk, police said.

An initial search for the rest of the body using cadaver dogs was unsuccessful. The planned aerial search had been delayed by bad weather.

Local media quoted Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi as saying the head had been embalmed before it was left in the forest. She could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Mohammad Zargham)