Missing Derry teacher's body found; police say she's a victim of homicide

37-year-old had been reported missing Tuesday
February 25, 2012 11:41 am
  • Police investigate at the house of Rebecca Stahl in Greensburg on Friday. Ms. Stahl, a teacher at Derry Area Middle School, was reported missing Tuesday and her body was found in some brush near Bell Memorial Church Road in Unity.
    Police investigate at the house of Rebecca Stahl in Greensburg on Friday. Ms. Stahl, a teacher at Derry Area Middle School, was reported missing Tuesday and her body was found in some brush near Bell Memorial Church Road in Unity.
  • Rebecca Stahl
    Rebecca Stahl
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The body of a Westmoreland County math teacher who had been missing for at least three days was discovered near the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport Friday morning, reaffirming her family's fears that she might have been killed.

Trooper Steve Limani, a spokesman for the Greensburg state police, said investigators have "preliminarily" determined that 37-year-old Rebecca Stahl, of Hempfield, "was the victim of a homicide." He and other officials provided few other details about the death of Ms. Stahl, whose home they searched and whose family members they interviewed in a quest for clues.

Ms. Stahl's relatives said they have their theories but prefer to keep them private until police solve the case.

"She didn't deserve to be brutally murdered," her older brother, Tom Anderson, said. "There will be justice."

Ms. Stahl's husband, David Stahl, was admitted to Excela Westmoreland Hospital on Friday night for an unknown reason.

Mr. Anderson said he learned of his sister's death at about 11 a.m. and drove as fast as he could down the highway to Bell Memorial Church Road in Unity, near where her body was spotted.

Trooper Limani said state police had organized a search party and a liquor control enforcement cadet from the state police academy spotted her body in waist-high, evergreen shrubbery about 20 feet off the roadway.

The trooper said information had prompted them to search the sparsely populated two-lane road, which snakes through expanses of fields, but he would not discuss what led them there.

He declined to say whether police have a suspect.

Ms. Stahl's parents and siblings thought something was odd as early as last Saturday, when her sister last spoke to her.

Ms. Stahl, a sixth-grade math teacher at the Derry Area Middle School, had been on leave for several weeks while she recovered from a hysterectomy. On Saturday, her sister Kelly Beltz, called to ask if she wanted to drink wine and have a girls' night. Ms. Stahl told her sister she'd have to check with her husband first and, uncharacteristically, never called back, Mr. Anderson said.

Mr. Stahl told state police he last saw his wife at their home on Seton View Drive on Monday morning. When he returned home later that day, she was gone but her car remained at the house, along with the medication she needed to recover from her surgery, he told police.

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1438. Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2533. Amy McConnell Schaarsmith: 412-263-1719
First Published 2012-02-24 23:10:49

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