Members of the Wyoming County community had two opportunities last week to share their respects with the family of Haley Lorenzen, who police say was murdered by Phillip Walters who dumped her body into the Susquehanna River from a bridge in Falls Township in December.
The body was recovered July 20, some 22 miles downstream.
On Tuesday (July 30) at Ardee’s Foodrinkery in Falls, the family was able to thank the police, firefighters, and dive team members for their tireless efforts to search for their family member who was missing for seven months.
Lake Winola Fire Chief Gene Dziak said “We weren’t going to give up. In fact, we had a search planned for that Sunday after she was found. There was no way we were giving up.”
And then on Wednesday at the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home in Tunkhannock there was an opportunity for family, friends, and even strangers to share their love with a family from Oregon they had barely known but prayed with and over.
Lorenzen’s father, Ralph, said he found some peace in being able to bring his daughter home, as he expected to do the next day after being in Pennsylvania for a week.
“Your community is awesome,” he said, “and it helped our family living at a distance knowing that she wasn’t forgotten.”
“She was dad’s girl,” he added, noting that they did a lot of outdoor things together including kayaking.
Lorenzen said he was so grateful that Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell, an outdoorsman of note, escorted him down the Susquehanna River in kayaks on the Sunday before so he could see the beauty of the region, not too unlike stretches of Oregon.
“It meant a lot,” Lorenzen said. “You people are just incredible. Thanks you so much.”