St. Petersburg Times Online: World and Nation

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Pa. man held in slayings; girl freed

©Associated Press

April 21, 2003


REHRERSBURG, Pa. -- A man obsessed with his teenage niece killed her parents and abducted the girl before releasing her unharmed Sunday, authorities said. The suspect was arrested after a chase and four-hour armed standoff.

Robert Lee Hixson, 42, is charged with killing his wife's brother, Myron L. "Butch" Bilger, and Bilger's wife at their Pocono Mountains home before kidnapping 13-year-old Hadley.

"There is some evidence of an obsession of a sexual nature with the 13-year-old," Monroe County District Attorney Mark P. Pazuhanich said. Hixson may have thought an arrest related to his relationship with the teen was pending, he said.

Hixson was arraigned on two counts of criminal homicide and sent to the Monroe County Correctional Facility without bail. Other charges were expected to be filed.

Myron Bilger, 40, identified Hixson as the shooter before he died, said Pocono Mountain Regional Police Detective Harry Lewis. After the shooting Saturday night, the family's 5-year-old daughter ran next door to get help while Hixson drove off with Hadley, police said.

Police issued a statewide Amber Alert, an emergency media announcement of the girl's abduction. That led to a 10:25 a.m. tip that Hixson's red pickup truck was spotted in Berks County, about 90 miles southwest of the girl's home in Pocono Lake, police said.

Police placed tire-flattening devices in the roadway, disabling the truck. Hixson released Hadley about 11:25 a.m., but continued to hold police at bay.

During the standoff, which took place outside a small market, Hixson stepped in and out of his truck, at times holding a shotgun to his chin.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.