Pa. man charged in Hagerstown woman's death

April 06, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Pennsylvania State Police have charged a 46-year-old State Line, Pa., man with criminal homicide in the death of a woman whose body was found Tuesday in a wooded area off East Ninth Street in Waynesboro, Pa.

Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., who was arraigned and held in the Franklin County (Pa.) Jail, threatened to jump off an Interstate 81 bridge in Antrim Township, Pa., and was "forcibly taken into protective custody," police said in a news release.

Miles is charged with killing Kristy Dawn Hoke, 29, of Hagerstown, who had been reported missing by her family, according to police and court documents.

Police said Hoke appeared to have been stabbed, but wouldn't say with what. Her body was found at about 6:30 a.m. near the intersection of East Ninth Street and Clayton Avenue.


At 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, troopers responded to the State Line Road bridge over I-81, where they say they encountered Miles. Troopers closed I-81 to both northbound and southbound traffic, then took Miles into custody three hours later.

Miles told police he was committing suicide because of "the evil and demons inside of him," Trooper D.J. Rush wrote in charging documents.

Miles confessed to killing Hoke and told troopers where to find her body when he was interviewed in custody, Rush wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.

Hoke had multiple stab wounds to her neck and torso, and her wallet was found nearby, the affidavit said.

Investigators and firefighters carried a body bag from the woods at 11:18 a.m. and placed it in a sport utility vehicle.

"The crime scene will be processed by our forensics unit," Trooper Tom Pinkerton said.

Those experts, along with ones who perform crime scene mapping, would be arriving from Harrisburg, Pa., he said Tuesday morning.

A Pennsylvania State Police helicopter landed in the old EZ Dumper parking lot at about 9:45 a.m. It took off, circled and landed several times, and one trooper was seen carrying a camera in the helicopter.

Pinkerton said it was possible the helicopter was being used for aerial photography, but he was not sure.

The affidavit said Miles led police to a separate, unspecified location "miles away" where Hoke's silver Chrysler Sebring convertible was found. Rush said in the affidavit that Miles talked to someone on Easter about helping him dispose of a female's body and other evidence, including the car.

That person contacted police, and a second individual shared "specific knowledge" with authorities that Miles had killed a woman, the affidavit states. While the second individual was being interviewed Tuesday, he received a phone call indicating that Miles was on the State Line Road bridge threatening suicide, according to the affidavit.

Pinkerton said he did not know the nature of the relationship between Miles and Hoke.

The Washington County (Md.) Sheriff's Office had helped search for Hoke, Lt. Mark Knight said in a phone interview from the sheriff's office. Authorities had tracked Hoke's cell phone activity in their search for her.

Assisting at the woods were Waynesboro police officers, fire police and firefighters; Washington Township police; representatives from the Franklin County District Attorney's Office; Waynesboro's police dog, Sarge; and staff from the Franklin County Coroner's Office.

Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner led a search for evidence at about 6:30 p.m. Forty-five firefighters and emergency medical technicians from South Mountain, Waynesboro, Blue Ridge Summit, Mont Alto, Greencastle, Marion and New Franklin formed a line to walk through the woods.

They were searching for a specific piece of evidence and found it in just a few minutes, Conner said. He would not identify the evidence.

One searcher was seen carrying a metal detector.

Conner said an autopsy will be performed on Hoke, but would not say when, saying all information must be released by the state police. Similarly, Waynesboro Police Chief Mark King would not say what role his department played in the investigation because state police asked him not to speak to the media.

Miles' preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 14. He is being held in the Franklin County Jail without bail.

Staff writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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