The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 29, 2013

Police: Man put corpse in truck

David Hurst

SOMERSET — The body of a missing Friedens man, found in his pickup truck Sunday, had been placed there after he died, state police in Somerset said.

Investigators alleged Tuesday that a Somerset-area man put the body of Frankie Allen Sass, 53, into the truck, wiped off fingerprints and other evidence from the vehicle, and then left the body in the parked truck for several days.

Michael T. Moore, 37, described by police as Sass’ friend, is charged with abuse of a corpse, terroristic threats, tampering with evidence and witness intimidation.

Police said that Moore threatened to “dig a hole” for a man who he forced to help him carry Sass’ body to the vehicle if the man told anyone.

Sass was described by police as a drug user who had a history of wandering off. He went missing for the last time Jan. 23.

An autopsy conducted Mon­day was inconclusive. Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said this week that he is awaiting results of toxicology and tissue tests. Miller said he doesn’t suspect foul play.

The time of Sass’ death has not been determined, Miller said Tuesday. That determination was complicated by the fact that the body was in the vehicle for several days before police found it, Miller said.

Trooper Joseph Drzal wrote in a criminal complaint that Moore’s girlfriend told police Sass had showed up at her apartment Jan. 23, and not long after, she realized he was dead.

The girlfriend said she and Moore panicked. They dragged the body down the steps, then called another man to help get the body into the truck.

Police said the woman told them she and Moore drove the body to a nearby location in Somerset, wiped the truck, threw the keys inside and walked back to her apartment.

Moore was lodged in the Somerset County Jail after failing to post $50,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Somerset.

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