A 31-year-old Wyoming County man is charged with criminal homicide in the death of a Falls Twp. woman.
Phillip Donald Walters, of 1560 Route 307, Mill City, Falls Twp, is charged in the death of former live-in girlfriend Haley Maree Lorenzen, 24.
Investigators say he killed Lorenzen and, with the help of another woman, tied bags of rocks to her body and threw her into the Susquehanna River from the Falls Bridge.
A preliminary hearing set for Walters yesterday afternoon, was moved to Feb. 25.
Lorenzen’s body has not yet been recovered after extensive searches on Thursday and Saturday.
According to arrest papers:
Walters called 911 to report Lorenzen missing on New Year’s Eve around 4 p.m., police said.
He said she had left all of her belongings — including clothing and purse — at his apartment but her cellphone was missing. He said Lorenzen had moved to the area in November, and the last time he saw her was Dec. 30.
Investigators said there were no obvious signs of forced entry or kidnapping, and neighbors of the residence on a well-traveled highway reported no suspicious activity.
A check of Lorenzen’s cellphone records revealed that the phone number’s last outgoing call was on Christmas Day but that she had been receiving and sending out text messages until Dec. 30.
Lorenzen’s mother, Deanna Hills, told police her daughter had no history of running away.
On Jan. 8, 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 female client met with Wyoming Count District Attorney Jeff Mitchell.
The woman said she was involved with Walters and told him that she no longer wanted to be the “other woman,” referring to Lorenzen whose relationship with Walters she had not taken seriously.
The woman said she went to Walters’ home where Lorenzen was already dead and saw the body in the bathroom. She said Lorenzen was the victim of being choked and struck on the head with a hammer.
The woman said she helped clean up the floor with bleach and rags and assisted Walters in putting the body in his 2001 Buick LeSabre.
She said bags of rocks were tied to Lorenzen “when they threw the body off the bridge” referring 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 because it is a homicide case.
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.