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Erica Shultz: Pennsylvania autistic woman hammered and stabbed to death by married man she met on dating site

42-year-old Harold David Haulman III killed 26-year-old Shultz after luring her into the woods and was charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, and kidnapping
Erica Shultz (L), Harold Haulman (Pennsylvania Police Department)
Erica Shultz (L), Harold Haulman (Pennsylvania Police Department)

A man admitted to killing a missing autistic woman with a hammer and a knife before telling cops her whereabouts, court records show. 42-year-old Harold David Haulman III, a transient who moved between Pennsylvania and Michigan, led police to the battered corpse of 26-year-old Erica Shultz and was charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, and kidnapping, the Times Leader reported. Police said Shultz's body had defensive wounds and severe head trauma. According to the newspaper, her body was located in a wooded area in Butler Township about three weeks after her sister reported her missing to Bloomsburg authorities.

During a press conference Monday, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis told reporters that detectives were led to Haulman using cellphone records and online dating websites. WNEP reported how the pair had met each other on, where Haulman used the name "Dave." A male friend of Shultz told police that she was reluctant to meet up with Haulman, who is married. “He asked her not to go if she was so concerned, but she responded, ‘I’ll just see how it goes,” Salavantis told reporters.

According to WNEP, Haulman surprised Shultz on the night she went missing. He reportedly showed up at her apartment unannounced on December 4 and asked her to go for a drive with him. The last text message received by Shultz, authorities found, was from a cellphone belonging to Haulman that read "surprise" and "knock-knock."

Shultz's sister reported her missing on December 6, when she failed to show up for work. 

Haulman was then interviewed by FBI investigators at his Battle Creek, Michigan residence on December 23. Considering the risk of flight, they placed a tracking device on his gray 1995 Ford Windstar, according to the Times-Leader. The newspaper reported how Haulman failed to show up for a scheduled second interview with agents the following day. Authorities tracked his vehicle movement from Michigan through Ohio to Pennsylvania, arriving in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, where his wife lives, on Christmas Day. Haulman sent his wife a text message expressing regret for doing wrong by her but writing he had “good news” as she would no longer have to “fear” him for any reason, the New York Post reported. “I have made a decision that is just best for everyone,” Haulman added. On December 26, Haulman was walking along railroad tracks in Duncannon when an agent of Norfolk Southern Railroad made contact with him. In a surreal turn of events, Haulman proceeded to slash his own arm with a boxcutter and yelled “I want to kill myself” and “I need to die for my sins.”

Later, Haulman admitted to police that he had used a mallet-type hammer and a three-inch knife to kill Shultz. Using Google Maps, the suspect pointed out to investigators an area off of Hobbie Road in Butler Township near Interstate highways 80 and 81, where he said they pulled off and went into the woods. Police searched the wooded area on Sunday, December 27, and found Shultz's body. Haulman was arranged the same day and is currently being remanded in custody without bond in Luzerne County ahead of a preliminary hearing on January 6, per the Times-Leader.