Man dead after random act of violence in Montour County

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COOPER TOWNSHIP, MONTOUR COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An elderly man is dead in what police say is a random act of violence. The alleged murderer’s story leaves investigators and an entire community scratching their head.

Kathleen Reed is charged with the murder of an elderly man. Court documents say she attacked him with a knife, slashing his throat.

“This is just not something that we see in Montour County or in Danville so I think everyone is kind of blown away by what transpired here,” Montour County District Attorney Angela Mattis said.

Around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, Pennsylvania State Police found 83-year-old Walter John Ditzler dead in his home on Bloom Road in Cooper Township. But it was a traffic stop nearly 100 miles away that led them there.

Just a few hours earlier, troopers in Centre County responded to an erratic driver complaint and found Kathleen Reed slumped over in a car. The car was registered to Ditzler. There was a large amount of blood on Reed’s clothes and a small cut on her hand.

“She’s giving a story that didn’t add up very clearly so that’s what prompted them to contact local PSP barracks here in Milton and request a welfare check for the individual who owns the vehicle,” Mattis said.

Reed’s car was found at Ditzler’s home. She was brought in for questioning and troopers say she confessed to the crime.

Reed told troopers she was driving from Florida to Canada, but she started to run out of money. She pulled over in front of this home and knocked on the door to ask for a gas can. She told troopers Ditzler let her inside to use the bathroom but when he told her to leave, there was a struggle and she stabbed him with a knife from the kitchen.

Investigators believe it happened late Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re always out in the yard and nobody else was out and it could have been anyone that she stopped and asked. Shocking,” neighbor Nathan Jones said.

A brutal and random attack that left the quiet community wondering why?

“He’d do anything for anybody. Now it’s just like, do you answer your door?” said neighbor Bo Pursel.

This is a non-bailable offense. Reed will be held in the Columbia County Prison pending a preliminary hearing as Montour County does not house female inmates.

Her next hearing is set for July 31st.

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