The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 2, 2013

City police work around clock to solve murder

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Three weeks after finding a 42-year-old Port Trevorton man dead in a city alley, Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said his force had little time to enjoy the Thanksgiving break because officers still are working around the clock to solve the Nov. 12 murder that has left law enforcement baffled.

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

Since that time, city police have formed a murder task force to help them ferret out clues, sources and leads in what Mazzeo characterizes as a “different social venue of society.”

Mazzeo would not confirm or deny what police are focusing on in their investigation, but sources have said the primary target is this dimen­sion of LaFerrara’s interests based on tips and interviews that have been steering the investigation in this direction for three weeks.

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

“We will not stop nor give up on this investigation,” Mazzeo said Monday. “Our officers are working on this nonstop and have cut their holiday vacation time short to continue to pursue leads and speak with individuals.”

Mazzeo would not say how many people have been interviewed or identify them. He said officers have gathered a lot of information that is “sending them down the right paths.”

LaFerrara died as a result of multiple stab wounds. Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley would not say how many times LaFerrara was stabbed.

A member of the Union-Chapman Township Regional Sewer Authority in Snyder County, LaFerrara was found by residents 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.

Mazzeo has called the murder the worst he has seen in his six years living in the Valley and said the investigation is not an easy one.

“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 still looking for compliance from any participants from that unique social venue.”

Mazzeo would not elaborate as to what social venue he referred to and declined to answer questions about friends of LaFerrara who said he was a frequent guest at adult nightclubs.

Police are reviewing video surveillance footage from cameras in Sunbury and surrounding areas and have been going through communication devices such as cell phones and computers that LaFerrara owned. Police found LaFerrara’s black 1997 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck parked at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, Hummels Wharf, the night of Nov. 13, but Mazzeo declined to say why police believe the truck was there or what was found inside the vehicle.

LaFerrara’s wife, Coleen LaFerrara, said her husband was in Sunbury often to remodel the North Eighth Street home. After a search of the home, police said the dwelling did not appear to be undergoing reconstruction.

No records show that Troy LaFerrara visited the city code department for permits of any kind.

Police have been in contact with the state police crime lab and have been using a secure law enforcement Internet information-sharing cloud provider that stretches all over the East Coast.

Although all reports are not back yet, Mazzeo said it does not appear that the victim was a drug user.

People with information are asked to call (570) 286-4584, ext. 125 or ext. 106, or Northumberland County Emergency Services at (570) 988-4539.