ERIE, Pennsylvania (WICU) – Relatives of murder victim Gerald Van Dyke are now trying to cope with this death, and the news that his head and hands were cut off.
Police say a body found in a steel drum in western Pennsylvania hasn’t been positively identified, but may be a man who went missing on Sept. 14.
An autopsy performed Monday found that the man died from a hunting arrow that went through the heart. The body was missing its head and hands, and DNA testing will have to be done to determine the identity, the Erie Times-News reports.
Investigators believe the body is that of 55-year-old Gerald P. VanDyke. Last week 68-year-old Richard A. Houy, 68, was charged with killing VanDyke, the longtime boyfriend of Houy’s daughter, and disposing of the body.
Houy told police that he assaulted VanDyke and dumped the body in a creek.
His aunt Theresa Van Dyke had not seen her nephew in many years, but she still remembers him as a friendly, happy-go-lucky, “good guy.”
She is stunned at the news that he was killed and horrified that the body was dismembered.
She said, “Who would ever remove parts of the body? It is one thing to get angry and kill someone. but to dismember him, that is about a low as you can get.”
Theresa Van Dyke says she is following the investigation closely.