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Transient Truck Driver Who Met Autistic Woman Online Lured Her Into Woods And Killed Her
“I need to die for my sins,” Harold David Haulman III, who had slashed his wrists with a boxcutter, was heard saying, before leading authorities to Erica Shultz’s body, according to police.
A missing Pennsylvania woman’s body was recovered by authorities after her alleged killer slit his wrists and pointed police in the direction of her remains over the weekend.
Harold D. Haulman III was a person of interest in the disappearance of Erica Shultz, who was last seen on Dec. 6, WBRE/WYOU reported. The 26-year-old was reported missing after she didn’t show up for work earlier this month.
Haulman, described as a transient truck driver, had been questioned by police but neglected to attend a follow-up interview after cell phone records showed he’d been in contact with the missing woman around the time she vanished.
He was arrested on Dec. 26 after railway workers spotted him wounded and wandering along the tracks making suicidal statements. Haulman was heard saying “I want to kill myself” and “I need to die for my sins” and had apparently cut his wrists with a boxcutter, according to PennLive.com.
At the hospital, Haulman confessed to the slaying. He used a cell phone and Google Maps to point FBI agents and state investigators in the direction of Shultz’s remains, according to WBRE/WYOU. On Dec. 27, her body was recovered from a wooded area in Butler Township near Interstates 80 and 81, the outlet reported.
"Yesterday we solved a mystery but a prayer was denied," Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis told WJAC-TV.
Haulman told detectives he’d clubbed Shultz several times with a hammer and later stabbed her multiple times with a kitchen knife.
"He admitted to taking her into a secluded area, walking her into the woods, and hitting her with a mallet-type hammer and stabbing her several times and leaving her where she lay," Salavantis added.
An autopsy is pending, according to the Johnstown television station. An official motive for the murder hasn’t been released.
Haulman has been charged with homicide, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse. He appeared in court Sunday night.
Shultz, who was autistic, met Haulman on the dating app MeetMe, authorities said. They later carried on a texting relationship and eventually met in person.
Shultz later shared concerns with a friend about someone named “Dave,” whom she had recently met, according to WOLF-TV. “Dave” allegedly had been urging her to "pack everything up and go away with him," she told her friend. The worried pal had installed a tracking device on Shultz’s phone days before she vanished.
Investigators said two of the last texts her cell phone received before it went dark read “surprise,” and “knock knock,” WOLF-TV reported.
"Everyone she met, I think she had their best interest at heart, wanting to get to know them and build a friendship and just spread this happiness and joy," Alexis Hargraves, an acquaintance of Shultz, told WJAC-TV.
The case remains open and ongoing. Authorities are now investigating if Haulman targeted other victims in the county.
"There possibly could be other people out there. We just don't know for sure at this point how many, if any," Salavantis said.