Police: Man Killed Missing Girlfriend
After killing his live-in girlfriend, Phillip Donald Walters tied bags of rocks around her body and tossed her over the Falls Bridge into the Susquehanna River late last month, police said.
Days later, a woman who helped him load Haley Maree Lorenzen, 24, into the trunk of a car and dispose of her body told police everything.
Walters, 31, of 1560 Route 307, Mill City, Falls Twp, is charged with criminal homicide.
According to arrest papers, Walters called 911 to report Lorenzen missing on New Year’s Eve around 4 p.m.
He said she left all of her belongings — including clothing and purse — at his apartment, but her cellphone was missing. He said Lorenzen moved to the area in November, and he last saw her on Dec. 30.
Investigators said there were no obvious signs of forced entry or kidnapping, and neighbors reported no suspicious activity.
A check of Lorenzen’s cellphone records revealed the phone number’s last outgoing call was on Christmas Day but she had been receiving and sending text messages until Dec. 30.
Lorenzen’s mother, Deanna Hill, told police her daughter had no history of running away.
On Tuesday, flyers reporting Lorenzen missing were circulated throughout Wyoming County.
A break in the investigation came later that day when attorney Todd Johns told police he had a client who “had information regarding a homicide.”
At noon on Wednesday, Johns and the unnamed woman met with Wyoming Count District Attorney Jeff Mitchell.
The woman said she was in a sexual relationship with Walters and told him that she no longer wanted to be the “other woman.”
She said Walters enjoyed rough sex and choking items were often used during sex. She also said Walters made statements about killing Lorenzen, but she didn’t take his statements seriously.
But when she went to Walters’ home sometime between Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, Lorenzen was already dead. The woman saw the body in the bathroom and told police Lorenzen had been choked and struck on the head with a hammer. She helped clean up the floor with Clorox and rags and assisted Walters in putting the body in his 2001 Buick LeSabre, police said.
During that interview, the woman said bags of rocks were tied to Lorenzen and “they threw the body off the bridge,” referring to the Falls bridge over the Susquehanna River on Dec. 30.
Walters was arraigned Wednesday night before Magisterial District Judge David Plummer and was taken to Wyoming County Correctional Facility in Tunkhannock without bail.
Recovery teams worked near the Falls bridge Thursday but did not find Lorenzen’s body in the river.
Tunkhannock Twp. Police Chief Ed Morristell helped coordinate search efforts from a command center at the Lake Winola Fire Company, Falls Station. Boats were on the river from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
He said watercraft from Lake Winola, Germania Fire Co., and the Game Commission were on the water and combing the banks, utilizing the latest sonar technology trying to locate Lorenzen’s body.
“We’d like some answers … but it’s going to take more time,” Morristell said. “We’re dealing with some significant challenges, most notably water that’s fast and high. We’ll evaluate where we are and how we’ll move forward. It looks like conditions should improve with little or no rain in the forecast.”
Mitchell released a statement Thursday morning that urged prayers for the victim and her family.
“Every effort is being made to locate Haley’s body so she can be returned to her family,” he said in the statement.
Late Thursday afternoon, Lorenzen’s mother said she’s devastated and heartbroken.
“I don’t know what else to say,” Hill said.
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