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Two people investigated for stabbing death of Mercer County businessman

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MERCER, Pa. - District Attorney Robert Kochems says his office, along with detectives from the Hempfield Township Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police have begun to focus their resources on two persons of interest as being responsible for the murder of Hempfield township business owner, Frank Crash.

The body of 76-year-old Crash was discovered by his daughter, Pam Higbee, at his home on July 25 of last year. Cash had been stabbed several times.

The Pennsylvania State Police laboratory has been able to match DNA from one of the people to evidence at the crime scene. Kochems says statements and other evidence corroborate the existence and participation of a second person.

Kochems did not name either person of interest.  But he says the female is currently serving a lengthy state prison sentence. The male has left the state for the east coast.

Kochems said these facts and other evidence that suggest Mr. Crash was not a randomly selected victim should relieve any concerns in the community that these individuals will commit further crimes in the Greenville area.

Kochems said that an arrest is not expected for several months as approximately 13 pieces of newly discovered evidence from the Pittsburgh area were just sent this week for testing to the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab in Erie.

According to Kochems, because of the broad scope of the investigation, various paths of inquiry need to be completed, and all of the available evidence must be ready to present at the time arrests are made because of the then defendants’ right to a fair and speedy trial. As a result, Kochems says that investigators are not prepared to release the names of the persons of interest at this time.

“The citizens of Mercer County have a right to expect all of our investigative processes are as complete as possible before we accuse anyone of murder,” Kochems said. “I have consistently said that naming a person of interest is the same as labeling them a defendant by charging the person with a crime. Since even charged defendants are presumed innocent, I am unwilling to attempt to make an arrest until the police can seek an arrest warrant with a sworn to ‘affidavit of probable cause’ attached that lists substantially all of the evidence against a defendant.”
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