The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 19, 2013

Sex industry becomes focus of city murder investigation

SUNBURY — A week after discovering the victim of a brutal murder, city police have formed a murder task force to help them ferret out clues, sources and leads in what police Chief Steve Mazzeo characterizes as a “different social venue of society.”

Troy LaFerrara, 42, a Selinsgrove native who was found stabbed multiple times in the torso, the apparent cause of death, was found to frequent gentlemen’s clubs and adult social media that arranges meetings and dates between consenting adults, some of whom are performers in adult entertainment, sources have told The Daily Item.

Although police would not say, sources have said police are focusing on this dimension of LaFerrara’s interests based on tips and interviews that have been steering the investigation in this direction for the past seven days.

In that time, police have also sought evidence and information from LaFerrara’s electronic communication devices, a coroner’s evaluation and a house in Sunbury where they found bags of evidence.

The mystery surrounding the murder of LaFerrara has caused police to form a homicide task force as they continue to search for clues as to why LaFerrara turned up dead Nov. 12 in a city alley.

LaFerrara died as a result of multiple stab wounds. Northumberland County Coroner Jim Kelley would not identify the number of times LaFerrara was stabbed.

A member of the Union-Chapman Township Regional Sewer Authority in Snyder County, LaFerrara was found by neighbors at the rear of 240 Catawissa Ave., near an alley between Catawissa and Fairmount avenues and about two blocks from the city home he owned on North Eighth Street.

“As the investigation evolves, it has become more complex as the deceased was (linked) in a different social venue of society,” Mazzeo said. “We are looking for compliance from any participants from that unique social venue.”

Mazzeo would not elaborate as to what social venue he referenced and declined to answer questions about friends of LaFerrara claiming he was a frequent guest at various adult night clubs.

“We are focusing on crime lab reports of what was on communication equipment and data-mining open source social media avenues,” Mazzeo said. “The task force is working with RISSNET.”

According to the website, RISSNET is a secure, sensitive but unclassified law enforcement information-sharing cloud provider. RISSNET provides access to millions of pieces of data, offers two-way sharing of information and connects disparate state, local, and federal systems. Agencies can easily connect to RISSNET, share information and intelligence in a secure environment, and query multiple systems simultaneously.

RISSNET is part of the Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network.

Mazzeo has said this was the worst homicide he has seen in the six years he has been in the Valley, and because of the special circumstances that seem to be surrounding the investigation, Mazzeo said police decided to work with several law enforcement agencies.

“It is a very complicated investigation,” Mazzeo said. “We are continuing to explore every lead and tip we get.”

Mazzeo said police have spoken to several individuals and are reviewing video surveillance footage from cameras in Sunbury and surrounding areas.

Police found LaFerrara’s black 1997 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, in Hummels Wharf, the night of Nov. 13. Mazzeo declined to say why police believe the truck was there or what was found inside the vehicle.

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