WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Disturbing new details in the kidnapping and murder of 26-year-old Erica Shultz. The Bloomsburg woman was reported missing earlier this month her body was found Sunday.
In a press conference earlier today, investigators detailed what they learned about Shultz’s final moments, and what the public needs to know about her alleged killer.
Luzerne county D.A. Stephanie Salavantis started the press conference by acknowledging that for people in Bloomsburg, the holidays were overshadowed by a burning, unanswered question: where was Erica Shultz?
Yesterday, we got the answer everyone feared. Police say 42-year-old Harold David Haulman III met Shultz online and killed her in a wooded area off Hobbie Road in Butler Township, Luzerne County.
Today officials said they’re still investigating the possibility that Haulman could have other victims.
“Erica’s friends and family clung to the hope that Erica would be found alive and well. Yesterday, we solved a mystery but a prayer was denied,” Salavantis stated.
Police arrested a truck driver, listed as a transient: Harold David Haulman III. He is charged with criminal homicide, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse.
The investigation began on December 6 when Schultz’s sister, Emily Corbin, reported her sister Erica Schultz missing.
No one had heard from Shultz since Friday, December 4 and she missed work. Shultz’s daily medications, coat, and her emotional support cat were left in her apartment.
On December 7, Corbin told eyewitness news Shultz was on the autism spectrum, and she worried her sister could be easily manipulated.
According to the affidavit, Shultz’s friend told police she asked him to put a tracking app on her phone. He said she planned to meet with a guy named “Dave” on Saturday, December 5.
He asked her not to go if she was so concerned, but she responded, “I’ll just see how it goes.”
When Shultz wasn’t answering her phone, the app showed her location in Milton. A search came up empty. Investigators then obtained cell-phone records and learned of Shultz’s last communication:
“Incoming text from a cellphone number that said “surprise” and “knock-knock”,” Salavantis said during the press conference.
Investigators traced the number back to Haulman being in her Bloomsburg apartment on the night she disappeared.
On December 23 FBI agents interviewed Haulman at his home in Michigan where they put a GPS tracker on his car.
The next day Haulman drove toward Duncannon, PA where his estranged wife lives. Saturday, railway police in the area encountered Haulman on the tracks where he cut his arm with a box cutter and said he needed to die for his sins. At the hospital, he admitted to taking Shultz to a wooded area and killing her.
“Walking her into the woods and hitting her with a mallet-type hammer and stabbing her several times, leaving her where she lay. After, he got rid of all the evidence connecting him to the murder. Everyone involved wanted to find Erica alive,” Salavantis said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, December 29.
Officials say Haulman started communicating with Shultz on a dating app called “Meet Me.” They’re now asking people to come forward with any information about Haulman’s activity.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania provided us with this statement:
“We were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic discovery made regarding Special Olympics Pennsylvania athlete Erica Shultz. We hope her many years of participation in Special Olympics brought her great joy, pride in her accomplishments, and many friendships. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and fellow athletes.”
Caroline Foreback, Eyewitness News