BUTLER COUNTY, Pa. — It’s been almost 19 years since two teenagers were found on a dark secluded road in Butler County. One was clinging to life; another already deceased.
No one has ever been charged with the crime. Even today, it’s not quite clear what caused their deaths.
Was it a hit run or something much more sinister? Target 11 investigator Rick Earle is digging deeper into this cold case that has haunted both families and police.
On a cold, blustery day, Ailive Rausch and her daughter showed Earle the exact location where her 15-year-old son, Scott Fosnaught, and his friend, Shawn Bauer, also 15, were found nearly two decades ago.
“I think Scotty was in the middle (of the road) and Shawn was 20 feet, I’m not sure what direction,” said Rausch.
Fosnaught’s injuries were consistent with being hit by a vehicle. Bauer had an injury to the top of his head.
Rausch believes it was made to look like a hit-and-run.
“I believe that it was no accident. I believe the boys got somebody angry, maybe, and it was a plan for them to leave that house. And it was setup. I had people look at his autopsy report, and they all say it’s consistent with a car but my gut feeling I think he was beaten and ran over. I mean, I can’t get rid of that feeling again. I mean it’s in my head,” said Rausch.
No skid marks or car parts were found.
Rausch said her son went to a party that July night at an abandoned farmhouse and hung out with friends. He ended up at a friend’s house on Cashdollar Road, near Evans City. But according to another friend, early the next morning, Fosnaught and Bauer decided to leave the house and walk to their homes about a mile away.
Just before 2 a.m., a woman driving on Cashdollar Road spotted the two boys lying on the road and stopped to help. Fosnaught was already deceased and Bauer was barely alive.
“They life-flighted him, and he lived for like 30 minutes, but he couldn’t speak,” said Rausch.
Both boys had been drinking, but police said they were not drunk at the time of death. There were no drugs found in their systems.
Target 11 met with the lead investigator and the public information officer for state police in Butler County and asked them about Rausch’s theory.
“Any theory is going to be on the table. We do believe that there was a vehicle involved. There’s a lot of evidence that points that direction, but there are still a lot of details we don’t know and that’s why we find ourselves, you know, 18 years later, still with a lot of questions,” said Trooper Jim Long, public information officer for the Butler Barracks.
Crimestoppers is now offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Meanwhile, Rausch and her daughter, who was only 10 at the time, told Earle they never imagined it would go unsolved this long.
“Maybe a few years or not even that, and you know, we would all have some closure so they can also rest in peace and we can have peace of mind, but it’s just ruining our lives. It completely ruined our lives and it’s just the pain never goes away,” said Candy Sepella, Fosnaught’s sister.
Rausch told Earle she won’t stop pushing for answers.
“No, not as long as I’m living. Nope. That was my kid. I mean I got to, I got to be their voices, you know, and I’m a person who has to do the right thing, and I need other people to step up and do what’s right,” Rausch said.
The investigation lead to some charges. The mother of a friend of the teens pleaded guilty to supplying the alcohol they had earlier that day. She was given probation and state police said that had no direct connection to their deaths.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death as blunt force trauma for both teens. While the death certificates do not list a manner of death, police told Earle they are treating it as a double homicide.
If you have any information on the case, you can contact the Butler State Police Barracks at (724) 284-8100.
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