The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 24, 2012

Morning Briefing | Tips lead police to suspect in child rape

Associated Press

LANCASTER — Police in Lancaster County say a man is behind bars on charges that he raped a 12-year-old girl.

Southern Regional police said a tip from a citizen led them to 34-year-old Phillip Lee Langley, 34, of New Proidence.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a girl multiple times in Conestoga Township from November 2011 to May 2012.

Police had been looking for Langley for several days. They say he was arrested without incident Sunday in Providence Township and is in Lancaster County Prison on $500,000 bail.

Langley is charged with rape, sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. All are felonies.

Police say he is already registered in the Pennsylvania State Police Megan's Law database as the result of a prior offense in Cecil County, Md.


Police find 'mobile meth lab' in Walmart lot

POTTSVILLE — Shoppers doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at a Walmart in Schuylkill County came across an unusual scene.

Members of a state police emergency team say a van was stocked like a mobile methamphetamine lab.

Saint Clair police discovered the Ford Windstar about 5 a.m. Sunday while investigating a hit-and-run crash in the Walmart parking lot.

They say 39-year-old Felix Ferrer Jr. of Reading, was found sleeping inside the van that was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police arrested him and the drug team removed the hazardous meth-making materials.

Ferrer is facing felony drug charges from his arrest in Schuylkill County. Police say he also has bench warrants from drug charges in Berks County.

The Wal-Mart store stayed open during the ordeal but an area surrounding the van was closed off.


Remains are those of missing man, 80

MERCER — A coroner has confirmed that human remains found by a hunter earlier this month in Mercer County are those of an elderly man reported missing in the summer.

Eighty-year-old Donald Mariacher was last seen July 13 in East Lackawannock Township, about 15 miles east of Sharon.

Several searches failed to find Mariacher, who police said was agoraphobic — or afraid to leave his house.

Skeletal remains now confirmed to be Mariacher's were discovered by a hunter Dec. 1 in woods a half mile from his home. The Mercer County coroner says his death has been ruled accidental and due to environmental exposure.


Body pulled from Delaware River in Philly suburb

ESSINGTON — Police in a Philadelphia suburb say they have pulled a body out of the Delaware River.

Officers went to the scene at Delaware County's Tinicum Township about 4 p.m. Sunday, after getting a call from people who were in the Gov. Prince Park and saw the body floating during low tide.

Police Chief Stephen Edmiston tells The Philadelphia Inquirer ( after a preliminary investigation, the county medical examiner's office saw no sign of foul play.

The body was that of a white man estimated to be in his 30s or 40s. He remains unidentified.


CO leak in Pottstown prompts apartment evacuation

POTTSTOWN — A suburban Philadelphia apartment building has been evacuated after a reported carbon monoxide leak.

It was around 5:30 a.m. Monday when authorities were called to the North Apartments in Pottstown for the report of a possible carbon monoxide leak.

Residents of the building were evacuated. Word on their conditions was not immediately available but police say two of the residents drove themselves to a hospital to be checked out.

Fire department and PECO gas company crews are investigating.


Gas field workers cited in hospital's debts

JERSEY SHORE — The head of a  Lycoming County hospital says the facility's first operating loss in about five years is a sign of the influx of natural gas field workers without health insurance.

Jersey Shore Hospital Chief Executive Officer Carey Plummer told the Sun-Gazette of Williamsport that many subcontractors attracted to the area's Marcellus Shale drilling boom don't cover employees.

He says that's brought a growing number of uninsured people to the hospital seeking care. Jersey Shore is about 50 miles northeast of State College.

Overall, the hospital provided more than $3 million in care to people unable to pay. That's the highest it's ever seen.

Other factors include cuts in Medicaid reimbursements, employee salary increases and higher pension costs.

Plummer says the hospital nevertheless continues to improve patient care and service.


Police searching for car in Pa. hit-run fatal

WILKES-BARR) — Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a 5-year-old boy in this city..

Kevin Miller of Dallas, Luzerne County, was crossing a street in Wilkes-Barre with his family after leaving a party Friday night when a car struck him and sped off.

Authorities say the crash was captured on surveillance video, and a lot of tips have been called in, but nothing has panned out so far.

Kevin died of multiple traumatic injuries. His death has been ruled a homicide by motor vehicle.


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.