The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

July 11, 2014

Woman’s murder stuns Ferndale classmates

JOHNSTOWN — A birthday card arrived at Cheryl Smith’s home on June 30. Inside, longtime friend Danette Webb had written a message that made Smith smile.

“All is well here. I am blessed in so many ways,” Webb wrote. “Every morning walking through the parking lot, I look straight up at the sky and give thanks.”

That same day, Webb was found murdered in her Albuquerque, New Mexico, home.

Word of Webb’s death made its way east through social media, leaving former friends stunned and saddened.

Webb and Smith were classmates at Ferndale Area High School, graduating together in 1978.

“She sounded really good in her card,” Smith said from her home in Shenandoah County, Virginia.

“Everything was going great. Everything was good. But ...”

According to media reports, Webb, 53, was found naked in her Southwest Albuquerque home.

Her wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape, and her mouth was taped shut.

Webb’s body was on the floor beneath her bedroom window, and the window’s screen was gone.

Co-workers went to the house looking for her after Webb didn’t report to her job that Monday.

There have been no arrests, and Albuquerque police have put out a plea for information, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

“It’s so shocking, so unbelievable,” said Jennifer (Rice) Priest, a Ferndale classmate now living in Belmont, Stonycreek Township.

“You think, ‘I understand this and I can go on. I can handle it.’ Then you start crying again.”

Classmate Jim Rigby recalled that Webb’s family moved to North Carolina shortly after she graduated from Ferndale.

“She had lived up a block or so from me,” Rigby said. “I ran around with her brothers a lot.”

The details of Webb’s death were hard to comprehend, Rigby said.

“It was brutal, from what I read,” he said.

“It was horrible,” Priest said.

“Her ex-husband called me.

“As soon as he told me who it was, I knew it was something bad.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • WWI mon28 100th anniversary of World War I

    No American veterans are still alive to provide firsthand accounts of the brutality and heroism displayed during World War I.

    July 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • coal1 Exporting pollution: U.S. energy producers sending dirty coal abroad

    As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America’s unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rising costs for pensions keep schools struggling

    Gov. Tom Corbett is ratcheting up pressure on the Legislature to reform the state’s pension system by focusing on how often school districts use tax increases to offset costs.

    July 27, 2014

  • camp cadet Recruits put through paces at Camp Cadet

    A row of young teens stood tall and attentive Sunday as their instructor paced past, barking out marching orders.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Luksik, Peg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray. Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, who twice ran for governor as the Constitutional Party nominee, knows what it's like.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm sparks reports of lightning strikes

    A fast-moving rainstorm generated reports of lightning strikes throughout parts of southern Cambria County early Sunday evening.

    July 27, 2014

  • pow28 Mount Olive church members reach out to those in need

    The members of Mount Olive United Methodist Church mark their faith by using a tape measure.
    The mission team of the Sidman area church uses tools such as tape measures to complete construction and repair projects to improve life for people in need and to help nonprofit organizations.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kernville Reunion will recall days gone by

    The 37th annual Kernville Reunion will start at noon Aug. 9 at Lorain Borough Park, 503 Green Valley St., and organizers are hopeful it’ll attract current and former area residents, especially people who attended Joseph Johns Junior High School.

    July 27, 2014

  • Scaife remembered for strong convictions

    At a weekend memorial service, publisher Richard Mellon Scaife was remembered by the archbishop of Washington as someone who had the courage to stand “for things that mattered.”

    July 27, 2014

  • kids new VIDEO | ‘Best friends killing friends’: Kids share concerns about drugs, bullying, shootings

    Sara Norman wasn’t shocked to learn that a 15-year-old stands accused of shooting a Johnstown police academy recruit July 13 in Oakhurst.
    And she wouldn’t be surprised that a 16-year-old took three bullets Thursday in another Oakhurst neighborhood shooting.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads