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Charges filed against man in 35 year-old murder case in southern PA

PAStatePolicsGettysburgMurderviaShaneDunlap.TheEveningSunviaAPThe family of Helen Popa is sharing the following article (which appeared in The Huntingdon Daily News on 8.19.15) in hope of gathering further leads to resolve the murder of their beloved Mother/Grandmother which occured on New Year’s Eve in 1979 in Mt. Union, PA

GETTYSBURG (AP) — A man has been charged in a 35-year-old murder case in southern Pennsylvania, accused of killing a mother and her teenage daughter during an early morning burglary at their home, authorities said Tuesday.

Abraham Cruz Jr., 54, was charged with two counts of criminal homicide, conspiracy, arson and burglary in the 1980 slayings of 17-year-old Deborah Patterson and her mother Nancy Patterson, Adams County prosecutors and state police said.

Prosecutors said the arrest of two others in the case in recent years helped lead them to Cruz, who also was sentenced Tuesday in a separate federal case of threatening employees at a Social Security Office in 2011 and a federal Homeland Security agent.  Continue reading article HERE

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New leads in 1979 Mt. Union, PA murder

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On May 7th morning news anchor;  Angie Koehle of WTAJ will run a story on the 1979 Mount Union, Pennsylvania #Cold Case death of Helen Popa.  This segment will also run on WBRE Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and another sister station near Pittsburgh after the original air-date of May 7th.

The police have some very important leads and are now asking for additional
information from the public.

Morning Anchor – Angie Koehle
WTAJ Your News Leader
akoehle@wtajtv.com

$10,000 REWARD offered in 1979 Mt. Union, PA #Cold Case

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The family of Elena (Helen) Cucu Popa; age 73 at the time of her death on
New Year’s Eve, 12/31/1979 is asking for help from the general public and
any law enforcement organization with leads and information on the person
or persons who perpetrated this crime.

Mrs. Popa was found in the backyard of her home near the entrance of her cellar steps;
her body was hidden under wood debris, Venetian blinds and corrugated roofing.   Her home was  located at 520 Division Street, Mt. Union, Pa. 17066; Mt. Union Borough;  Huntingdon County in the state of Pennslyvania.  Mrs. Popa died from external skull fractures and brain injury as a result of numerous blows to her face and head.  Her lifeless body was discovered by her son-in-law William Bard (now deceased) at approximately 4:40 in the afternoon (1/1/1980) as he arrived at her home on New Year’s Day to drive Mrs. Popa to his home for New Year’s dinner.   Robbery was the “probable cause”.

Curtis C. Everhart, (now deceased) the first responding officer of the Mount Union Borough Police Department  said police (at that time) were unable to determine if the slaying of
Mrs. Popa occurred at the rear of the house or inside her home. Mrs. Popa lived alone and she was last seen alive at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday 12/31/1979.  A list of known items were taken from her home and evidence was secured by the Crime Scene Unit.

In 2010 the boxes of evidence that had been secured 30 years earlier have been located in Harrisburg and have been tested for DNA, touch DNA and other forensic methods available to police today which were not available in 1980.
A $10,000 REWARD…for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the robbery – murder of Mrs. Helen Popa of Mount Union, Pa. On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1979.

Original Pa. State Police Officers : G03-119306   Criminal Homicide
Joseph Pierotti
William Mostoller
James Hollingshead

It has been nearly 35 years since the murder of Helen Popa.  The case is now  handled by
Trooper Clemens and Troop Swank.  If you have any information you would like to share please e-mail, call, or write Trooper Gretchen E. Swank.

Trooper Gretchen Swank ; “Like I said, I worked in the same unit with Trooper Clemens for a few years, and we will take whatever actions are necessary to develop information to further this investigation.”

CONTACT TODAY:
Trooper Gretchen E. Swank | Criminal Investigation Unit
Pennsylvania State Police | Troop G, Huntingdon
10637 Raystown Road | Huntingdon PA 16652
Phone:  814-627-3161 | Fax:  814-627-0042
gswank@pa.gov