A 41-year-old man named Harold Haulman III has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of 26-year-old Erica Shultz.
Shultz, an autistic and diabetic Pennsylvania woman, met Haulman online. Her sister reported her missing on Dec. 6 after she failed to show up for work. According to Fox56, her absence was immediately seen as suspicious, as she failed to take her medications with her and left her emotional support cat behind, without extra food.
Shultz informed one of her friends on Dec. 2 that she was speaking online with a man named "Dave," who wanted her to "pack everything up and go away with him," according to Heavy. She planned to meet with him on Dec. 5 to "see how it goes," and asked her friend to install a tracking app on her phone, just in case.
Shultz's sister reported her missing the day after her scheduled meeting with "Dave." Haulman was quickly identified as a suspect, after police discovered that his phone had been with Shultz's, at her apartment, on Dec. 4. Soon after, the phones were identified traveling together on I-80. Eventually, Shultz's phone lost contact with towers, and could no longer be tracked.
Haulman was found in Michigan and ordered to meet with FBI agents. When he failed to make the scheduled appointment, detectives used a tracking device placed on his van to track his movements from Michigan through Ohio to Pennsylvania, where he visited his wife's home on Dec. 25. The next day, he was located by a Norfolk Southern Railroad employee who saw him walking the tracks.
Before he was apprehended by police, Haulman reportedly expressed regret for his actions and attempted to harm himself with a boxcutter. When police finally got a hold of him, he described the manner of Shultz's killing and led police to her body in a wooded area outside of Butler Township, Luzerne County in northern Pennsylvania.
Haulman confessed to the killing, telling police that he led Shultz into the woods before striking her "around a dozen times" with a "mallet like" object, according to Heavy. He then stabbed her nearly a dozen times with a kitchen knife, according to police. Police discovered Shultz's body in the indicated area on Dec. 27, with injuries matching Haulman's description.
Soon after her disappearance, Shultz's family began employing social media to search for her. Her sister posted a plea to Facebook, noting that "Erica is 5’4”, 220lbs, with blonde hair and blues eye. She is a diabetic without her medications. She doesn’t drive or have a drivers license. #savingshultz. She would NOT leave on her own without telling us. And she would not leave her emotional support cat Luna." The family offered a reward for any information.
Haulman reportedly had violent thoughts toward other women, and told police that he tried to kill himself on the railroad tracks because he was "tired of living this way." He has been charged with homicide, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse and is being held at Luzerne County Correctional Facility, according to Fox56.
Following her death, the Pennsylvania branch of the Special Olympics posted a heartfelt message about Shultz to Facebook. "Our Special Olympics Pennsylvania family is deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic discovery made regarding Erica Shultz," the organization wrote. "We hope her many years of participation within our organization brought her great joy, pride in her accomplishments, and many friendships. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and fellow athletes during this very difficult time."
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