Son arrested in Pa. deaths of dad, stepmother

By Joe Mandak

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 14 2011 12:50 p.m. MDT

Police vehicles are parked in front of the house at 571 West Liberty Rd., Thursday, July 14, 2011, where two sets of human remains were found near a pond on the farm property in Slippery Rock, Pa. on Wednesday. The identities have not been determined but investigators say they're treating the matter as suspicious.

Keith Srakocic, Associated Press

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — A man killed his father and stepmother in western Pennsylvania, then tried to cover up the slayings with a story claiming they had perished in a fiery New Jersey car crash, prosecutors said Thursday.

Butler County prosecutor Ben Simon told The Associated Press that 40-year-old Colin Abbott was arrested at his New Jersey home early Thursday morning, a day after Pennsylvania State Police found the charred remains of Kenneth and Celeste Abbott outside their rural home near Slippery Rock, about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Simon, an assistant district attorney, would not say how the Abbotts were killed. "We're still processing the crime scene," he said.

Colin Abbott was charged with two counts of criminal homicide, but other charges may be added, Simon said.

State police went to the home to investigate after receiving a report that the couple had been killed in a car crash early last month in New Jersey, Simon said. They had been last seen by family members on June 5.

Shortly after, Simon said, "Colin started calling family members and telling them that the Abbotts died in a fiery car crash in New Jersey" and that state police there had custody of their remains.

New Jersey police were called by a distraught family member on July 12 to ask about the remains, but determined there was no record of any such accident or death. They, in turn, called their Pennsylvania counterparts and asked them to look in on the home Wednesday.

There, Simon said, troopers found "two burn piles and human remains in the backyard and parts of a skeleton in a pond."

Meanwhile, a search of Colin Abbott's home in Randolph, N.J., yielded his stepmother's wallet, along with a gun case for a .380 caliber handgun.

Investigators at the scene included a team with expertise in skeletal remains from Mercyhurst College in Erie, led by Dennis Dirkmaat, a nationally known forensic anthropologist. Dirkmaat was called in to assist investigators in Nevada after a tractor-trailer smashed into an Amtrak train killing six people last month.

Abbott was awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania. New Jersey State Police said they had no record yet of any attorney representing him.

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