Homicide charges filed against 2 men accused of killing woman, dumping body

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CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. - State police have filed homicide charges against two men accused of killing a Fayette County mother and grandmother and dumping her body in the Youghiogheny River in Dunbar Township.

Craig Rugg, 24, and Paul Bannasch, 24, are charged with homicide in the death of Margaret “Peggy Sue” Kriek, 52, of Connellsville, District Attorney Jack Heneks said.

Members of a local Boy Scout troop discovered Kriek's nude body floating in the Youghiogheny River just before 10 a.m. Saturday, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Nathaniel Lieberum. She was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. by a deputy coroner.

An autopsy performed on Sunday lists the cause of death as strangulation. In addition, police said Kriek was sexually assaulted and had injuries to her head and face, eight broken ribs and cuts on her heels, legs, stomach and arms.

Kriek's sister, Barbara Leonard, said she last saw Kriek on Friday night, when she dropped her off at her residence on McCormick Avenue. She said she became concerned the following morning when Kriek did not answer her phone.

“I called and called,” Leonard said. “I thought she was just sleeping in, but then the Connellsville cops came and said the state police were looking for us, and that's how we found out.”

According to the affidavit, Rugg and Bannasch were observed drinking at Sidewinder's, a bar in Connellsville, at 11:30 p.m. Friday. At 12:19 a.m. Saturday, witnesses saw them walking with Kriek by the nearby Amtrak train platform, police said.

Police found some of Kriek's clothing near the train platform, as well as drag marks and blood that led to the river, according to the affidavit. They discovered additional clothing on the riverbank.

Leonard said witnesses have told her that the two men dragged her sister against her will from the bar.

“She was trying to be nice to those guys, and they were being mean to her,” Leonard said. “They literally dragged her out of the bar, grabbed her by her arms and dragged her right out. It's horrible, really horrible.

According to police, Rugg and Bannasch went back to the bar after the murder.

“We can't figure out why didn't somebody (at the bar) go over and say, ‘Stop being mean to her,' and take her off of them? That shows you how people don't want to get involved,” she said.

Kriek’s mother, Barbara Ritenour, said, “They should close it down. If the cops don't close it down, I’ll close it down for them, believe me I will.”

Leonard said her sister was a kindhearted person who was always helping others and would have given the two men “whatever they wanted.”

“She would load up her own food and walk it to the other side of town to give to whoever called her, saying they needed food,” she said.

Leonard is asking anyone who saw her sister or the men at the bar to call state police.

“Please don't hesitate to call,” Leonard said. “If anyone has any information, please call them.”

In addition to homicide, Rugg and Bannasch are charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful restraint and abuse of a corpse.

Channel 11’s Brittny McGraw reported that Rugg was listed on the state Megan’s Law website.

Rugg and Bannasch are being held in the Fayette County Prison without bond.

“They are going to face the almighty God, and they’ll have a lot of penance to pay,” said Ritenour.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.