Homicide charge against Pa. woman based partly on found scalp

Homicide charge against woman based partly on found scalp

YORK, Pa. — YORK, Pa. (AP) - A woman has been charged with criminal homicide in the disappearance of her husband 7½ years ago based in part on a partial scalp found in a bag along a road and additional DNA testing.

Virginia Hayden, 67, was arraigned Monday and held without bail in the death of Thomas Hayden Sr., of Dover Township, who went missing in the fall of 2011.

Prosecutors say a large section of scalp with hair that appeared to be tied in a ponytail was found along with bloody pieces of cloth in a FoodSaver bag along a road in January 2012. DNA tests didn't turn up a match then, but the remains were later identified as belonging to Thomas Hayden based on samples provided by his two brothers.

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A forensic analysis last year could not say whether Thomas Hayden was dead or alive when his scalp was cut off, authorities said. It concluded that if he was alive, the act would have resulted in his death.


"The task of dismemberment supports the conclusion that Thomas Hayden died a violent death at the hands of another individual," Dr. Wayne K. Ross wrote.

Authorities say Virginia Hayden, now of Carlisle, told them after the bag was found that her husband had left for Mexico for medical treatment with his brother, who denied that. Questioned following the DNA identification, Virginia Hayden said she would give a statement of "whatever you want me to write" and later said she would "admit" to whatever other family members wanted her to say, prosecutors said.

Hayden is also charged with forgery, conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property and tampering with public records. Prosecutors allege that she forged her husband's signature on several documents, including a deed transfer, bank deposit slips, credit card transactions and checks.

Virginia Hayden's attorney declined to comment Tuesday.