Pa. police say headless body may be missing man’s

  • September 30, 2013

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A headless body found in a steel drum may be that of a man who went missing on Sept. 14 and is believed to have been killed by his girlfriend’s father, police said Monday.

Investigators believe the body, which hasn’t been positively identified, is that of 55-year-old Gerald P. VanDyke, the Erie Times-News ( ) reported.

Last week, Richard A. Houy, of Cambridge Springs, was charged with killing VanDyke, the longtime boyfriend of Houy’s daughter, and disposing of his body. Houy told police that during an argument he punched VanDyke, who fell and struck his head. Houy said he dumped the body in a creek.

An autopsy found that the man in the steel drum died from a hunting arrow that went through his heart. The body was missing its head and hands, and DNA testing will have to be done to determine the identity.

Houy’s daughter told police he led her to believe that VanDyke’s body, “in whole or in parts,” was placed in barrels or drums, police said. She also told police that she had terminated her relationship with VanDyke and hired an attorney to split the 26 acres of land they jointly owned.

Houy became a person of interest in the case on Sept. 20, when he was suspected of being the source of two anonymous phone calls made to state police about VanDyke, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

In both calls, made the morning of Sept. 18, the caller told police that VanDyke indicated that he was leaving town and didn’t want anyone to know where he was going.

Police said Houy at first denied making the anonymous phone calls but later admitted it.

Houy is being held without bail in the Crawford County jail. No attorney for him was listed on court papers.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10.


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