A Pennsylvania man has been charged with murder and kidnapping more than 40 years after the death of an 18-year-old woman, prosecutors said Friday.
Investigators have long suspected that two men named in Friday’s announcement played a role in the death of Denise Marie Pierson, who was reported missing in April 1981 after she failed to return home after visiting a friend in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. His body was found in July 1984 near the railroad tracks in the borough of Delaware County, about 300 yards from the home of one of these suspects.
Wayne Anthony Walker, 58, was charged on Thursday with multiple counts of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. It was unclear from court records whether Walker, who was being held in county jail on unrelated assault charges, had an attorney.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and state police investigators also announced that Peter Horne, who died in 2013 while incarcerated on unrelated harassment charges, was a co-conspirator. in the death of the young woman. Investigators said two other people were still being investigated for their potential roles and offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to additional arrests.
“For forty long years, the family of Denise Pierson has searched for answers in connection with the death of their loved one. We hope today’s announcement will bring a measure of healing and closure that has been denied to them for too long. a long time,” Stollsheimer wrote in an emailed statement.
Over the years, investigators have questioned Walker, Horne and other suspects, including after they said Walker gave details of the murder to a former cellmate while incarcerated. And after a call made to a trauma center claiming responsibility for Pierson’s murder was traced to Horne’s home. Over the years, physical evidence including batons known as “blackjacks”, ropes, clothing and jewelry have been recovered, but investigators felt they did not have enough evidence to charge the men with Pierson’s death.
Investigators reopened the case in 2018 and, upon reviewing evidence, rediscovered a 6-inch (15 centimeter) folding knife that had been found with Pierson’s remains. They also re-interviewed acquaintances of the suspects and began to piece together the fact that several of the suspects had over the decades revealed details of the murder to these potential witnesses.
In 2021, soldiers contacted a forensic expert from the Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Sciences at the University of South Florida who re-examined photos of the remains and other evidence and was able to show that Pierson had a wound. piercing along his neck next to her. jawbone of a sharp weapon matched with the folding knife. Investigators say the knife and new autopsy information helped corroborate statements from potential witnesses.
The charges announced Friday in Pierson’s murder mark the second announcement in a week of a solved Pennsylvania homicide. Authorities revealed Thursday that the man allegedly raped and murdered a 9-year-old girl, Marise Ann Chiverella, in 1964 in Hazel Township, Luzerne County.
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