Son charged in missing Luzerne County man’s murder

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WYOMING, PA (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been one year, five months, and a day since a Luzerne County man went missing. Now the case of 59-year-old Bill Morse appears to be coming to a close.

Eyewitness News has been on the forefront of every twist, turn and detail in connection with Bill Morse’s disappearance on June 11, 2018. The grim tale from missing person to criminal homicide investigation has one man behind bars: Bill Morse’s son.

“This afternoon, the district attorney’s office, together with the Pennsylvania State Police, obtained an arrest warrant for William Morse IV for the murder of his father, William Morse III,” Luzerne County District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis said.

Lead I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick and Eyewitness News were first on the scene as Morse was arraigned and charged with his father’s murder and related crimes.

“Mr. Morse was murdered by his son, who then burned the body, attempted to destroy and dispose of the remains and staged an elaborate coverup under the guise of a missing persons report,” Salavantis said.

The affidavit spells out the series of events over the last year and a half, including financial motivations to the charges. Several charges cite Morse as unlawfully exercising power of attorney to gain access to credit cards, bank accounts and a trust fund with an estimated value of $7 million. The investigation started as a missing persons report in June 2018.

After 15 months of rigorous investigations, searches and warrants on the Morse property, the focus shifted. Just days after the shift, Morse was taken to the hospital after attempting suicide.

Court papers say a hunter found a bag of his belongings, just this week, with an admission of guilt on an adjacent property. The note said: “I William L. Morse IV, murdered my father period. My mother knew nothing. I bludgeoned him on the concrete, then burned his body. Robin knew nothing.”

Robin being in reference to his mother and his father’s ex-wife. Investigators say they found bone fragments in a burn pit on the Morse property, believed to be the father.

Scores of resources from Sugarloaf Township Police, state police, and up to the Federal Bureau of Investigations have spent the last one year, five months, and one day working to solve the case of Bill Morse III and as of Tuesday night, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office looks to be one step closer.

“This case should be a reminder to everyone that we do not give up on the victims. We do not abandon their families and their friends. Most importantly, we do not forget or excuse people who commit violent crimes in Luzerne County,” Salavantis said.

While Bill Morse IV is locked up, the Luzerne County District Attorney is looking forward to his day in court. Morse will have a preliminary hearing November 19th.

That criminal homicide charge carries the possibility of a death sentence.

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