Pennsylvania man found headless, handless was killed by arrow through heart

Richard Alfred Houy was being held without bond on criminal homicide and other charges in the disappearance and death of Gerald Paul VanDyke of Union City, Pa. Crawford County, Pa., jail

An arrow through the heart killed a man whose headless and handless body was found stuffed in a metal drum last week in northwest Pennsylvania, authorities said Monday.

Because the decomposing body was decapitated and can't yield any fingerprints, state police said further DNA testing was needed to confirm the victim's identity.

But they said they're almost certain it is that of Gerald Paul VanDyke, 55, of Union City, Pa., who has been missing since Sept. 14.

The body was found Friday in a metal drum in Rockdale Township, less than a mile from the home of Richard Alfred Houy, 68, of Cambridge Springs, who is now being held without bond on criminal homicide and other charges.

VanDyke was last seen leaving the Erie County home he shared with Houy's daughter, Tina Skelton, NBC station WICU of Erie reported.

State police said in an application for a search warrant that Houy confessed to having killed VanDyke — his daughter's longtime boyfriend.

An autopsy Sunday revealed that the victim died because of a sharp force injury — specifically, a hunting arrow that ruptured his aorta — authorities said Monday.

Family of headless man speaks out 1:48

The search warrant application said Skelton told VanDyke that she wanted to end their decade-long relationship with him. It said Skelton said her father admitted killing VanDyke that day and might have dismembered his body.

The police statement said Houy later directly admitted having killed VanDyke. He is being held in the Crawford County jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing Oct. 10. No attorney is listed in the court docket.

Theresa VanDyke, VanDyke's aunt, said the news of the discovery was "very hard" for the family to process.

"Who would ever remove parts of the body?" she asked in an interview with WICU. "It is one thing to get angry and kill someone, but to dismember him like that, that's about a low as you can get.

"He was a real nice guy," Theresa VanDyke said. "He was happy-go-lucky. He was always friendly.

"He was a good guy."

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