The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 5, 2012

Pickup truck linked to Columbia County death found in Sunbury

SUNBURY —  Police located a vehicle in Sunbury late Tuesday that belonged to a Columbia County man who was found dead possibly from gunshot wounds hours earlier in his home.

State police at Bloomsburg had put out an all-points bulletin for a 2003 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson edition truck owned by Frank Spencer, 46, whose body was found at his 20 Fairview Drive home in Hemlock Township by a friend who stopped by at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The missing truck was located at North Fifth and Line streets in Sunbury, said state trooper Patrick Finn, of Bloomsburg, the lead criminal investigator.

Finn was preparing a warrant to search the vehicle Wednesday morning. Information about the search was unavailable.

Columbia County Deputy Coroner Linda Kessler said there were wounds on Spencer’s face and arm, but could not confirm they were caused by a gunshot.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed this morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Kessler said.

Spencer had complained repeatedly to Hemlock Township police, state police and anyone else who would listen in recent years about threats being made against his life. Spencer was a 1984 graduate of the Bloomsburg High School, where he was a well-known member of the wrestling team, and a 1988 graduate of the Bloomsburg University. He owned a used car business and junkyard.

Citing the suspicious circumstances of Spencer’s death, Hemlock Township police officer Scott Traugh declined to comment and referred inquiries to the state police.

Finn said he is aware of the complaints as well as a long and contentious divorce Spencer waged with his former wife, Maria Sanutti Spencer, the mother of his two children, ages 13 and 11, which was recently finalized. At one point, Spencer filed a protection-from-abuse order against her.

“It’s no secret they had a bad break-up. (Spencer) made that known to everyone,” Finn said. Finn would not say if there were any suspects in Spencer’s death.

Spencer spelled out his concerns about the alleged threats against him in court documents filed in Columbia County a few years ago.

Accompanied by his then-attorney, Joel Wiest, of Sunbury, Spencer and his girlfriend, Julie Dent, spoke with The Daily Item in November 2010 after both of their homes were burned down within seven months of each other that year.

Dent was asleep in her Old Valley School Road home in Columbia County in August 2010 when a fire woke her. She escaped by jumping out of a second-floor window.

The blaze was ruled an arson by state police, but no charges were ever filed. Dent could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In January 2010, the Millville Road house in Hemlock Township, Columbia County, Spencer shared with his mother burned to the ground. A cause was never determined, but Spencer was convinced the fire was set.

Spencer claimed he received specific threats before each fire and reported them to local and state police, to no avail.

“Where’s the protection?” Wiest asked during the interview nearly two years ago.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Wiest declined to comment due to the continuing investigation involving the death of his former client.

“Our prayers go out to his family,” he said.

Text Only
  • Tawny Dog owners not surprised to learn pooches get jealous

    DANVILLE — Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows that pooches can get a little green over how much time you spend with other canines.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lottery Big lottery payouts pay off for seniors

    HARRISBURG — State lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donations to Budd family near $60,000

    SHAMOKIN DAM — The Valley continues to give as fundraisers keep forming and donations steadily pour in for the Budd family, of Ohio, while Sharon Budd continues her fight back from drastic injuries suffered when a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass in Union County slammed through the windshield of the family’s vehicle three weeks ago.

    July 30, 2014

  • B-17 fly-over to honor 'Dutch' VanKirk

    NORTHUMBERLAND — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will soar in honor of the late Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk during his graveside services Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 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.