Suspect charged in Coal Township homicide

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COAL TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A suspect has been charged with the fatal beating of a Northumberland County woman.

The most recent search warrant from Coal Township Police found the suspect used the victim’s debit card before and shortly after her death.

On November 21st, Coal Township Police came to the home on the 1300 block of West Holly Street after a neighbor asked for a wellness check on her friend. When they arrived, they called out the victim’s name as well as her son’s, who both lived in the home, but got no response.

After entering through the unlocked front door, officers say they found the son, 39-year-old Christopher Depka in the downstairs bathroom with drug paraphernalia. Police also found the victim, 61-year-old Sarah Jones, face down on the floor of her bedroom covered in blankets.

Depka was the only other person inside the home at the time and was arrested that day on drug charges. An autopsy performed showed Jones’ skull was fractured.

Police say they found a bloody aluminum baseball bat hidden under Depka’s bed. Surveillance cameras show Depka leaving the home the day before when police say he used his mother’s bank card to withdraw $200 before returning home.

Depka was charged with criminal homicide and several charges related to theft on the 26th.

A neighbor Eyewitness News spoke with last week, who wished to stay anonymous, suspected the son from the beginning.

“It’s really sad. I didn’t even know he was there because sometimes I see him when he goes by but this time, I didn’t see him. It’s just…how can someone do that to their own mother?” said the neighbor.

Depka is in custody at Northumberland County Jail awaiting his arraignment.

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