Meadville Tribune

October 3, 2013

Murder victim's truck found in pieces

Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — Pieces of the truck belonging to murder victim Gerald P. Vandyke turned up on Thursday on property “near where other evidence was found last week” in Rockdale Township, according to state police.

Vandyke, 55, of Erie County, was reported missing on Sept. 15 by Tina Skelton, his long-time live-in girlfriend; and Skelton’s parents, Richard A. Houy and Sandra Houy, police reports indicated.

Police believe they found his remains last week inside a sealed steel drum in a wooded area off Brown Hill Road in Rockdale Township.

The 2003 Dodge truck was reportedly found dismantled with many pieces scrapped.

Police recovered identifiable pieces and plan to continue investigating the discovery, but they would not elaborate on the other evidence found.

Vandyke’s alleged remains were found within two miles of Richard Houy’s home in Cambridge Springs.

Police charged Houy, 68, with murder of the first degree, abuse of a corpse, tampering with or fabricating evidence, and false reports to law enforcement in connection with Vandyke’s death.

Houy was jailed after he confessed to the crime in an interview with state police last week, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz told the Tribune Wednesday that he has not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty, a decision that doesn’t need to be made before Houy’s scheduled mid-November formal arraignment in the county’s Court of Common Pleas. Schultz said he has no doubt the remains are Vandyke’s, though results of DNA tests to confirm that were still pending Thursday.