Harold D. Haulman III, 42, has been charged in the disappearance and death of 26-year-old Erica Shultz in Pennsylvania. Shultz was last seen on December 6 and her body was found in a wooded area in Luzerne County, northeast Pennsylvania on December 27 after Haulman confessed to the crime and directed officers to her body, police said in a press conference.
Shultz, who was autistic and diabetic, was reported missing by her sister on December 6 and police say Haulman met Shultz online and murdered her in the wooded area off Hobbie Road in Butler Township, Luzerne County.
Haulman, a transient with no permanent address, has been charged with homicide, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse, Fox56 reported.
Haulman Was Listed as a Person of Interest Early in the Investigation Into Shultz’s Disappearance
Police stated that Shultz frequently used dating apps and spoke to men on MeetMe, Skout and Facebook, Fox56 wrote, despite her sister Emily Corbin warning her against it.
On December 2, Shultz told one of her friends that she was speaking to someone named “Dave” who told her she should “pack everything up and go away with him.” She said, “I’ll see how it goes” and said she was planning to meet him on December 5 but asked her friend to install a tracking app on her phone.
Shultz’s sister reported her missing on December 6 and her disappearance was deemed suspicious from the onset: she hadn’t shown up to work, had left her emotional support cat behind without extra food and she hadn’t taken her medications, Fox56 reported. Police identified Haulman as a person of interest after a search warrant found that their cellphones had been together at her apartment on December 4 and then traveled together on the I-80 until Shultz’s phone stopped connecting to towers.
A few days after her disappearance, her sister posted on Facebook, “Erica is 5’4”, 220lbs, with blonde hair and blues eye. She is a diabetic without her medications. She doesn’t drive or have a drivers license. #savingshultz. She would NOT leave on her own without telling us. And she would not leave her emotional support cat Luna.” She said their family would be offering a reward for information.
Haulman Was Located on December 26 & Told Detectives Where to Find Shultz’s Body
Detectives found Haulman in Michigan and placed a tracking device on his van. After he missed a scheduled interview with FBI agents, investigators followed his movements from Michigan to Ohio and Pennsylvania, WBRE/WYOU reported. On December 25, he arrived at his wife’s home in Pennsylvania and he was located by a Norfolk Southern Railroad employee walking along the tracks on December 26.
The railroad employee said Haulman slashed himself in the arm with a boxcutter and said, “I want to kill myself, I need to die for my sins,” the outlet wrote. Haulman was hospitalized. In an interview with FBI agents and Pennsylvania State Police, he described killing Shultz showed them where to find Shultz’s body on Google Maps, WBRE/WYOU wrote.
Haulman confessed to the murder, the outlet reported, and told police that he walked into the woods with Shultz and hit her around a dozen times with a “mallet-type” hammer. According to police, he said he then stabbed Shultz with a kitchen knife about a dozen more times. On December 27, police searched the area of the woods indicated by Haulman and found Shultz’s body bearing wounds consistent with Haulman’s description of the murder.
Fox56 reported that Haulman told police he tried to kill himself along the railroad tracks because he was “tired of living this way” and had previously thought about killing other women. Haulman is currently being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Fox56 wrote.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania posted about Shultz’s death and wrote:
Our Special Olympics Pennsylvania family is deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic discovery made regarding Erica Shultz. We hope her many years of participation within our organization brought her great joy, pride in her accomplishments, and many friendships. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and fellow athletes during this very difficult time.