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Criminal Justice

Police link North Catasauqua killings to earlier report of girl threatened with a knife

North Catasaqua double homicide.jpg
Tom Shortell
Pennsylvania State Police continue their investigation Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, into a double homicide that occurred the day before in the 1100 block of Railroad Street in North Catasauqua.

UPDATE: State police release names of victims of North Catasauqua double-homicide

  • Pennsylvania State Police continue to investigate the killings of a 39-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl in North Catasauqua
  • Authorities are exploring if the slayings are related to a report of a girl being physically abused and threatened with a knife six days earlier in South Whitehall Township
  • The girl in the South Whitehall case has ties to the Railroad Street home, though investigators have declined to identify victims in any of the cases

NORTH CATASAUQUA, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police are investigating whether last week's double homicide in the borough is linked to an earlier case where a girl was allegedly threatened with a knife, court documents reveal.

In court documents filed Thursday, investigators referred to a report filed in South Whitehall Township on Sept. 8, six days earlier.

In that incident, a girl was physically abused and threatened with a knife, state police said in a search warrant application. Police used initials but did not identify the victim or the suspect in that incident by name.

The girl is believed to be a relative of the 39-year-old occupant of the home on the 1100 block of Railroad Street, where the killings occurred, police said in the search warrant.

Authorities have not identified the homicide victims, only describing the deceased as a 39-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl. Both died of "sharp-force injuries," authorities said last week.

Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck declined to say Monday whether the teenage victim is the same girl who was allegedly threatened on Sept. 8 — or whether the two people killed were related.

The potential tie was included in a search warrant, where state police indicated their intention to collect DNA, fingerprints, blood, electronic surveillance equipment, computers, cell phones, clothing and weapons as evidence from the Railroad Street home.

The search warrant had not been returned as of Monday afternoon, so it is unclear what investigators ultimately collected.

The search warrant also shed a few more details into how events unfolded.

North Catasauqua police received a request around 7:35 a.m. Thursday to make contact with the residents of the Railroad Street home. A borough officer responded but wasn't able to make contact with anyone there, according to the search warrant.

About four hours later, borough police were dispatched to the victims' home again, this time for a report of an unresponsive woman, according to the search warrant. The same officer and Chief Christopher Wolfe arrived at the home.

One of the victims was dead at the top of the second-floor stairs with lacerations to her face and chest. Wolfe found the second victim dead facedown in a nearby bedroom, according to the search warrant.

Authorities interviewed family members who were already at the home. Last week, state police said the victims' distraught extended family found the bodies and called 911.

Police have not identified the victims or any potential suspects in killings. However, Houck has said the public is not in danger.