A 67-year-old Pennsylvania grandmother has been charged with the 2011 murder of her husband.
Here’s what we know
Virginia L. Hayden’s son and daughter recalled to police that their mother had once volunteered that the best way to get rid of a dead body was to feed it to pigs. The pigs, she had told them, would eat every part of a body except for either the skull or the hair, they disagreed on which she had said.
She had also volunteered how to make a body sink in water and how to make it look like someone had died of a heart attack. At the time, they had thought that this unsolicited information was strange, but never dreamed that she might actually be a killer.
The last time anyone had seen Thomas Hayden was 2011. Virginia Hayden said that he had left to seek treatment for ALS.
In January 2012, a man found a plastic bag with what appeared to be a human scalp in it by the side of the road. He turned it into police, but the DNA from the sample did not match anything they had on file.
Kim Via was Thomas’ biological daughter. She had been estranged from him since 2005 and lived out of state, but in 2017 decided to re-establish contact. She tried calling the house, but Virginia kept answering the phone and saying that Thomas did not want to talk to her. When this continued, Via got concerned and called police.
Police did a welfare check and discovered that nobody had seen Thomas since the fall of 2011. One man remembered Virginia saying in 2014 that Thomas had died.
Suspicious, the police got DNA samples from Thomas’ brothers and matched them positively to the hair and skin found in a bag in 2012. They also found that a signature on the deed of a house that Thomas had allegedly signed in 2013 to sell his house to Virginia for $1 had been forged by Virginia herself. Virginia had also continued to collect roughly $117,000 in Thomas’s benefits after he had disappeared.
“We can only take us where the facts lead us and the facts in this case it lead us to Virginia,” Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told WHP-TV. “Our people worked hard on this.”
Police still have not found Thomas’ body.
On Monday, Virginia was arrested and charged with criminal homicide and 64 additional counts.
Woman charged with death of husband who disappeared in 2011