Matthew Haverly was incredulous.
Passersby and a UPS driver just pulled a woman’s body out of the creek across the street from his house — a shocking discovery in the otherwise quiet, rural neighborhood in Wyalusing, Pa., about 50 miles northwest of Scranton. State police swarmed the creek, finding a shoe and a black tarp downstream. Soon the local news arrived, seeking input from neighbors about what they thought could have gone wrong.
Haverly volunteered. Standing beside the creek, he explained his first impressions to a news crew from WNEP when he drove past the scene earlier in the day: “I was like, what the h— is going on?” he told the station. “I had no clue.”
He took a wild guess about what this could be about. “I think it was kind of a hit, and something happened,” he hypothesized. “Something went bad, and this is like a rural area, so they just wanted to plant the body somewhere else besides wherever the hell they were from.”
Very sad, Haverly said.
“It’s sad to say that that’s someone’s daughter or mother,” he said.
Indeed, as it happens, she was Haverly’s mother, as police would soon reveal.
Haverly, 38, was charged with criminal homicide and abuse of a corpse Friday after authorities identified the victim as 60-year-old Patricia Haverly. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide caused by trauma to the head, the Star Gazette reported Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, Haverly admitted to police in an interview that he and his mother had a tumultuous relationship and had an argument the same day her body was discovered, the Star Gazette reported. He told police that his mom followed him to his bedroom during the argument and tried to punch him, so he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her. But then, he said, he blacked out and couldn’t remember what happened next.
Police believe he killed his mother, then wrapped her body in a piece of black tarp and threw her in the creek. When police executed a search warrant on the property, they found a wheelbarrow and a black tarp matching the one found in the creek, according to the Star Gazette.
Following Haverly’s arrest, WNEP returned to the scene to interview some more neighbors.
As Haverly had told the station previously, if his mother were to see that body, “I’m guessing, like, my mother, she would be concerned, and probably a lot of neighbors would be concerned.”
They were indeed.
“If that’s exactly what happened, that’s shocking,” neighbor Vanessa Billings told WNEP. “It’s heartbreaking because he comes across concerned, and that’s what’s scary, because you don’t know what’s going on next door at your neighbor’s house.”
Haverly is being held without bail in the Bradford County jail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
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