Man, woman found murdered in Penn Township home

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Police converged at a Westmoreland County road after a man and a woman were found shot to death at a house on Monday.

Detectives scoured every inch of a Penn Township property where 27-year-old Mara Casale and 41-year-old Jacob Erdeljac were found shot to death early Monday morning. Dozens of bags of evidence were removed from the home.

Victor Steban, 53, is considered a person of interest in the murders.

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Officers were called to the home along Claridge-Elliot Road in Penn Township around 8 a.m.

“Very out of the ordinary for this neighborhood. Just high police presence. Lots of questions, lots of trying to figure out what did happen,” said neighbor Melinda Brivchik. “My thing would be the investigative truck the CSI truck going down there, that was a big bad sign.”

A portion of the road was blocked off for hours and evidence markers were placed in the driveway.

Monday, afternoon, Penn Township police issued an alert for a 2005 red Toyota Tacoma with a thin blue line sticker on the back and a bug shield visor on the front. Police said the truck was involved in a double homicide investigation and those inside were considered to be armed and dangerous. The truck, which was found, had been stolen from the victims’ home.

Neighbors described the couple who lived in the home as quiet and who liked to hunt, but kept to themselves.

Neighbors say -- even though they didn’t hear anything, the sound of gunshots wouldn’t be alarming here.

“Everyone around here hunts, or their sons or husbands, and with it being in the sticks, it’s easy to go out in the woods and make target. I know people all my life who’ve shot in these woods. You know the sounds. You know where they’re coming from.”

At the scene of the murders, a motorcycle was towed away to be examined as evidence. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck explained that the couple rode their bikes often.

“They had motorcycles. A lot of Sunday or weekend cruises with friends in and out of bikes all the time, very friendly,” Peck said.

The district attorney also said that they are examining whether or not there is a connection between the double murders and a car bomb that exploded in North Huntingdon Township over the weekend.

The Westmoreland County Coroner confirmed the two deaths and stated that the autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Erdeljac worked for Duquesne Light Company. “Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by this terrible tragedy,” the company said in a statement.