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Murder Charges Filed in Death of Brookville Teen

Monday, February 25, 2013 @ 11:02 PM

Posted by Jake Bauer

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A criminal complaint has been filed and an arrest warrant has been issued in the death of 19-year-old Devan Cathlene Knapp of Brookville.

Ms. Knapp disappeared on the evening of Friday, January 11, 2013. Her remains were found early in the morning hours of Tuesday, January 15, 2013 in her white Scion FR-S along Summerville Drive in Millcreek Township, Clarion County.

Clarion County District Attorney has announced today that 29-year-old Shawn Ryan Carr, of Kittanning, who is currently housed in the Armstrong County Jail, has been charged with:

- Murder in the 3rd Degree
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Drug Delivery Resulting in Death
- Aggravated Assault
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Delivery of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Abuse of a Corpse
- Conspiracy – Abuse of a Corpse
- Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence
- Conspiracy – Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence
- Recklessly Endangering Another Person
- Simple Assault

Carr will be arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Miller of New Bethlehem. A preliminary hearing will also be scheduled by Miller.

“On behalf of the Clarion County law enforcement community, I express our sympathy to the family and friends of Devan Knapp,” said District Attorney Mark Aaron in a prepared statement released this afternoon.

“Troopers William Craddock and Randy Powell should be commended for their dilligent work on this case. After the remains of Ms. Knapp were found, they pursued the investigation, interviewing dozens of individuals, which led to today’s arrest.”

The following information was released by District Attorney Mark Aaron’s office:

Devan Knapp Reported Missing on January 13
According to an affidavit of probable cause, around 9:57 a.m. on January 13, Punxsutawney State Police received a report filed by Sheri McElhinny that 19-year-old Devan Cathlene Knapp, her daughter, was missing and had last been seen on around 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11.

Punxsutawney Police took a missing person’s report and entered Knapp into NCIC as a missing-endangered person on January 14. Contact was made with Verizon, Knapp’s cellular provider, and coordinates were provided for the last activity on her phone. (This area was approximately a mile east of where Knapp was eventually found deceased.) The area was searched by Sigel VFD and PSP with negative results. On January 14, Punxsutawney police contacted Clarion-based State Police and requested that they check the Holiday Inn in Clarion for Knapp and her vehicle, a white Scion FR-S, and had information that Knapp frequents the hotel and might be there. A flyer was also proved that contained several pictures of Knapp to include a recent picture that had been posted to Facebook of the victim sitting on top of the white Scion.

A check of the hotel was negative, and it was learned from a resident of the Holiday Inn that Knapp was taking care of that he had last seen Knapp on January 11 at around 8:00 when she had left the hotel in her new vehicle. The handicapped man was interviewed several times relative to this investigation on January 14.

In speaking with Knapp’s mother, it was learned that Knapp’s cellular telephone records had been checked and that the last call made by Knapp had been to a number later identified at Shawn Carr. Knapp’s mother advised that the number was called on Saturday, January 12, several times around 11:00 and that the first three calls went unanswered and the last call was answered. The individual that answered was asked if he had talked to Knapp, and he said that he had talked to her earlier but had not seen her and had no idea where she was. Knapp’s mother then looked through Knapp’s old cellular telephone and found a contact for “Shawny”. Knapp’s mother identified that she had discovered that “Shawney’s ” last name was Carr.

Devan Knapp’s Body Found on January 15
On the morning of January 15, Clarion State Police were contacted and advised that a white car had been found at the entrance to a camp in a remote area of Summerville Drive in Millcreek Township, Clarion County, and that a female was found deceased in the vehicle. Police responded to the scene where Devan Knapp was found deceased in her vehicle. Knapp was readily identified by the picture provided of her sitting on top of the Scion FR-S taken on January 11 in which she was wearing the same clothing she was found dead in. Devan Knapp was found in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with a syringe in her lap, under her left hand, her pants were pulled down around her buttocks and open waxen baggies were observed in the center console of the vehicle. Also found in Knapp’s vehicle was a bottle of chew spit and a pouch of Red Man chewing tobacco.

Knapp’s Car Searched for Clues
Knapp’s white Scion FR-S was towed to Clarion State Police where it was secured. The vehicle was searched and a receipt dated 11:11 on January 11 from a Giant Eagle store located at 910 Freeport Road in Pittsburgh and a receipt for a Wendy’s Restaurant located at 891 Freeport Road in Pittsburgh were located in the vehicle. The Giant Eagle receipt showed that the purchase had been made with an American Express card. Also located within Knapp’s vehicle was an Apple iPhone. Upon powering on the phone to determine ownership, the cellular phone screen backdrop on the phone displayed a picture of Knapp’s vehicle.

A search of Knapp’s phone revealed a contact for “Shawny”. Also located on the phone were text messages sent by and received to Knapp from this number on January 11.

Police Continue Investigation in Pittsburgh on January 15
On January 15, police traveled to Giant Eagle Store in Pittsburgh to obtain surveillance video, and they were able to view Devan Knapp with a male checking out and walking out of the store at around 11:12. In viewing the video, the male observed with Knapp allegedly matched a photograph of Shawn Carr.

Investigation Continues to East Brady and Rimersburg on January 16
Around 8:50 a.m. on January 16, Verizon phone records were obtained for the cellular phone account for Shawn Carr. The records showed that Knapp had both text and phone call contact with Shawn Carr on January 11, staring at 3:13 p.m. and ending with a phone call from Knapp to Carr around 8:30 p.m. Based on a tip, surveillance video of Knapp and Carr in Knapp’s vehicle was obtained from the East Brady Uni-Mart on January 16. The video was from January 12, starting at 12:44 a.m.

Cellular tower location information showed that Knapp and Carr cellular phones were hitting off the same towers late evening of January 11 and early morning hours on January 12. Carr’s records show that his cellular phone was hitting off of the cellular tower located on Tower Road in Rimersburg for calls made and received on January 12 from 6:23 a.m. until 10:09 a.m. A check of Knapp’s phone records show that her cellular phone was connecting with the tower located on Tower Road in Rimersburg at 2:57 a.m. and 10:12 a.m. on January 12.

Text messages from Carr’s phone show that he had sent a text message to the cellular number identified as being Pamela Troutman’s at 4:00 a.m. on January 12. The message says, “Shit ok call me I am stuck this person od on me i got them breathing but call me I see where i am at and what i can do ok.” Carr also sent a text to another cellular number at 4:07 a.m. say, “Ya this chick od on me so i am keeping her breathing”. At 10:39 a.m. on January 12, Carr sent a message to Alex Kiesling stating, “Do u got a brand new point”. (syringe/needle)

Carr’s phone records show that he had made and received several calls and text messages from another number during the late evening hours of January 11 and then multiple calls and texts were made between Carr and this number between 9:15 a.m. and 19:52 a.m. on January 12. The number was identified by Alex Kiesling as being (Joel) Tanner Stark’s number.

Police Interview Joel Tanner Stark on January 28
On January 28, police traveled to the residence of Joel Tanner Stark in Rimersburg to conduct an interview. Stark was allegedly found hiding in a closet within his residence and was taken into custody based on an existing state parole detainer and several bench warrants. Stark voluntarily agreed to come to PSP Clarion to be interviewed.

On January 28, starting around 2:13 p.m., 32-year-old Stark allegedly advised police that Carr and Knapp had arrived at his residence in the early morning hours of January 12. Stark stated that this was the first time he had met Knapp, and that they had all used heroin in his residence shortly after they had arrived. Stark allegedly stated that he had observed Carr inject Knapp with a syringe in the arm and that a short time later, Knapp had trouble breathing, gasping for breath and Stark believed that Knapp quit breathing. He allegedly stated that his girlfriend, Adonica Vigus, and Carr stripped off Knapp’s clothing and put her in a cold shower and that Vigus performed CPR on Knapp. Stark allegedly stated that Knapp was revived, opening her eyes and looking at Carr, but was not able to talk. Stark related that Carr and Vigus then redressed Knapp and helped her back to the couch in the living room. Stark advised that Knapp was still not breathing normal. Approximately a half an hour later, Carr came into their bedroom and told them that he didn’t think that Knapp was breathing. Carr then allegedly put Knapp in the passenger side seat of her vehicle and he got in the driver’s seat and left Stark’s residence. Stark and Vigus related that they both told Carr to take Knapp to the hospital and Carr allegedly stated that he wasn’t going because he had warrants for his arrest. Stark related that at this point, he believed that Knapp left his residence, dead, on Saturday, January 12, at approximately 6:00 a.m. Stark said he followed Carr around in his own vehicle until they eventually drove to where Knapp was discovered on January 15. At this location, Stark said Carr allegedly parked Knapp’s vehicle and situated her behind the steering wheel in the driver’s seat of her vehicle where he also allegedly placed a syringe (needle) in her lap to make it look as if she simply overdosed there.

Police Re-interview Joel Tanner Stark on January 30
Stark was re-interviewed again on January 30, and he directed the police on where and how the events transpired on January 13. He was asked if he had met Alex Kiesling before, and he related that he had. He said that he and Carr had allegedly met her in Corsica to get needles. He advised that Carr allegedly had got four (4) needles from her. He stated that Carr allegedly had said that he needed a new needle to make it look like Knapp had OD’d and that it can’t have his blood in it.

Stark told police that he met Carr north of the old truck stop on State Route 949, and that it was there that he had met Carr in Knapp’s vehicle and that Carr had pulled Knapp’s vehicle into a grassy area just off of the roadway parallel to the road, facing south and that he had picked him up at the entrance to the pull off. Stark advised that he could see Knapp’s body in her vehicle when Carr got out of it. He advised that Carr had allegedly called Alex Kiesling while he was in with him and had arranged where she was to meet them.

After Carr allegedly met with Kiesling and retrieved the needles, they traveled back out to SR 949 and back to the victim’s vehicle. Carr got back into the victim’s vehicle and Stark followed Carr from there and made a left on O’Donnell Road and then left on Fisher Road and then left on Jackson Road, and then a left onto Summerville Road and upon approaching where Knapp was found, Stark positively identified the exact spot saying he was 100% certain. He advised that Carr had allegedly called him prior to arriving at the spot and told him to stop around the bend. He advised that Carr had then allegedly walked up through the woods in his socks and got into his vehicle. He advised that they drove out past the victim’s vehicle and then turned left on the Fisher-Strattanvile Road, and then left on State Route 322 to Brookville.

Police Interview Alex Nicole Kiesling on January 21 and January 30
On January 21, at approximately 10:40 a.m. police interviewed Alex Nicole Kiesling at PSP Clarion. Kiesling was made aware of the investigation involving Knapp. Kiesling reviewed with the police her phone records from January 11 and January 13. She identified several calls that she received from “Tanner” and Shawn Carr on January 12. Kiesling identified Carr’s and Tanner’s phone numbers. Kiesling explained that Carr was her ex-boyfriend.

On January 30, at approximately 2:30 p.m. police interviewed Kiesling at the Jefferson County DA’s office. Kiesling explained that she received several phone calls and text messages from Carr on January 12 in the mid-morning hours. Kiesling allegedly explained that Carr asked her to meet him on Old State Road near Corsica Borough and requested she bring some needles. Kiesling estimated she met Carr shortly before noon as she drove to the agreed upon location from Brookville. She allegedly explained Carr exited a brown station wagon which was being driven by a guy she only knew as Tanner. Kiesling explained she knows Tanner because he only has one leg. Kiesling allegedly explained she gave Carr a total of four needles, then Carr got back into the vehicle with Tanner.

Autopsy Performed by Erie County Coroner’s Office
An autopsy was performed on Devan Knapp by Dr. Eric Lee Vey with the Erie County Coroner’s Office. On February 21, a provisional diagnosis detailed that Knapp had died as a consequence of morphine toxicity. The opinion details that when heroin usage occurs that it is rapidly metabolized in the blood to morphine. It also shows that the level of morphine in Knapp’s system was 160 NG/ML.

Police File Criminal Complaint Against Stark on February 25
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Carr’s cellular phone records were examined following the execution of a search warrant. The records indicate Carr contacted Stark several times via his cellular phone during the late evening hours of January 11. The records also indicate that Carr and Stark had contact again on January 12. Stark confirmed the number called by Carr was to his cellular phone and he placed several calls to Carr. Several of the calls allegedly dealt with the delivery of heroin on January 11 and several allegedly dealt with the abandonment of Knapp’s body and vehicle.

Based upon the above listed information, Troopers William Craddock and Randy D. Powell believe Stark conspired with Carr to tamper or fabricate physical evidence and abuse a corpse. Stark also used his cellular phone to assist in the delivery of heroin.

Stark has been charged with:

-Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
- Abuse of a Corpse
- Criminal Conspiracy – Abuse of a Corpse
- Criminal Conspiracy – Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence

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