The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 10, 2013

DA: Case closed in Snyder County

MIDDLEBURG —  Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch had been in office only a few months in the summer of 2010 when he began reviewing state police reports on the area’s only unsolved murder.

He pored over information contained in three large binders at the suggestion of Sgt. Fred Dyroff, the first trooper called to investigate the July 13, 1997, unattended death of Donald E. Seebold II, 22.

Seebold was found dead in the back seat of Ryan Sprenkel’s vehicle where he had been placed hours earlier after Sprenkel and Christopher Aucker found him lying in the middle of Troxelville Road, in Beavertown, not far from the home of Robert Reich, where all three had attended a birthday party the previous night.

After meeting with a state police task force that never stopped investigating Seebold’s death, Piecuch was keen to find out what happened to the young man.

“We decided the only way to move the case forward was to take it to a grand jury,” Piecuch said.

Numerous witnesses appeared before the statewide grand jury and several testified they saw Reich, Aucker and Sprenkel brutally kick and punch Seebold at the party held on Reich’s family property in Port Ann. Others denied any assault took place at the large gathering.

Based on the recommendation of the grand jury, criminal homicide, conspiracy and perjury charges were filed against the three men in March 2012.

In addition, perjury charges were filed against Linda Thomas, Reich’s aunt who hosted the party on her property, and Aucker’s wife, Sheila Liddington Aucker, for allegedly lying to the grand jury when they denied a fight took place.

On Thursday afternoon following a nine-day trial, a jury of eight woman and four men acquitted Reich, Aucker and Sprenkel of all charges. Each of them walked out of the Middleburg courthouse surrounded by friends and loved ones after spending a year in jail without bail.

“I respect the jury’s verdicts, but I also consider this case closed,” Piecuch said afterward.

As a result of the verdicts, he plans to drop perjury charges against Thomas and Liddington Aucker.

The trial attracted many court observers who had no link to the defendants or the Seebold family. Some questioned the strength of the commonwealth’s case, particularly in light of the confusing testimony given by several prosecution witnesses who admitted lying to the grand jury and in related court hearings as well as evidence that police had identified other suspects, including Tim Steffen and Brian Swartzlander, early in the investigation.

Piecuch said he has interviewed both men, but wouldn’t say whether Steffen or Swartzlander testified before the grand jury.

He added that none of the witnesses who admitted at trial that they had previously lied in court about this case will face perjury charges, reiterating his position that the Seebold case is now closed.

“I don’t cherry-pick easy cases to go to trial with,” he said.

n Email comments to

Text Only
  • Vehicle accident closes Route 61

    PAXINOS — Route 61 in the area of the Wayside Inn in Ralpho Township, Northumberland County, is closed because of a vehicle accident, the Northumberland County Communications Center reported at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

    July 13, 2014

  • xmartin14a.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    ELWOOD, Ind. — Unchecked tears rolled down Paul Martin’s lined face as he clutched the hand of an Air Force servicewoman who handed him a handwritten note at the graveside service for his older brother.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • City man shot by cop must pay own hospital tab

    Medical bills accrued by a Sunbury man shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer are his responsibility, Northumberland County officials said last week.

    July 13, 2014

  • beers_andrew.jpg Brother: Jail fails suicidal inmates

    In a suicide letter left behind when 27-year-old Andrew Beers hanged himself nearly a year ago in Northumberland County Prison, the Paxinos man suffering from anxiety and panic attacks promised his relatives he’d see them again some day and asked God for forgiveness for what he was about to do.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Beatties' attorney: Toss that $70G bill

    While the Line Mountain School District must pay half of the $140,000 in legal fees billed by attorneys representing the parents of Audriana Beattie in a federal lawsuit, the Herndon family will not be responsible for the other $70,000.

    July 12, 2014

  • montour.jpg Montour County near top 10% in U.S.

    SUNBURY — Two Valley counties are in the top 25 percent of the easier places to live in the United States, according to a recent study of the nation’s 3,315 counties.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Con jobs spread across county

    An inmate work-release program has provided much-needed assistance in cleaning and organizing historical records stored in the damp basement of the Northumberland County courthouse.

    July 12, 2014

  • Immigration_Overload_Courts__bfoley@dailyitem.com_1.jpg Baby-sitting diverts border agents, Barletta says

    President Barack Obama’s failure last week to personally observe the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally has enraged U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who held a special session of his Homeland Security committee at the same time near McAllen, Texas.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • overpass12a.jpg 4 nabbed in I-80 rock case

    State troopers who noticed a gold Honda Accord twice driving slowly past the scene where an Ohio mother of four was critically injured by Interstate 80 rock-throwers Thursday night connected and charged the two occupants and their friends with the crime.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • basskids0713c.jpg Mifflinburg teens hope to hook bass title

    Four Mifflinburg anglers competing in two-member teams will represent Pennsylvania this week at the first BASSmasters National High School Championship on Kentucky Lake and Carroll County Lake in Tennessee.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.