Local detectives are taking a new look at the unsolved homicide of 79-year-old Ivan Darling who was found dead in his home on Christmas Day 1986, according to a release issued by Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett.
Gettysburg Borough Police Department and Adams County District Attorney’s office detectives are resurrecting Darling’s case, ruled a homicide, with the cause of death “determined to be massive hemorrhaging from numerous puncture wounds.”
A forensic pathologist from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown said an unknown weapon caused the wounds, and police noted a knife could have been involved, according to Gettysburg Times archives.
Darling was found dead at his 524 York St. home around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 25, 1986, but the time of death was estimated between Sunday, Dec. 21 or Monday, Dec. 22.
“Robbery is being considered as the primary motive in the incident,” the article reads. Cash and personal items were missing from Darling’s home, according to the Gettysburg Times.
A watch and a cigar box of assorted coins were among items taken from Darling’s home. The coins were pre- and post-World War II, consisting of “steel pennies, Mercury dimes, and buffalo” nickels that were never found, according to Times archives.
“The level of violence possibly suggests that the crime may have been committed in a frenzy of emotion,” previously reported in this newspaper. “The amount of damage inflicted upon the body, is indicative in some cases of some type of relationship with the victim, rather than a stranger, police stated.”
This was not the first theft at Darling’s home.
On March 18, 1984, Darling’s home was burglarized with the thief making off with personal papers and an undetermined amount of cash.
According to his obituary, Darling, born in Harford, N.Y., worked at the Gettysburg Furniture Co., Gettysburg College, Lee Metals, and the Gettysburg Tour Center prior to his retirement.
Throughout the investigation, the Gettysburg Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have contributed to “various parts of the case,” according to the release.
“Detectives will be reviewing case files, interviewing persons, former investigators, and reviewing evidence based on current day technology,” the release reads. “Investigators are optimistic that new processes may provide leads that were not technologically possible previously.”
Anyone with information pertaining to the case is encouraged to contact Detective Chris Evans of the Gettysburg Police Department at 717-334-1168 or Detective Tim Guise of the Adams County District Attorney’s office at 717-337-9840, ext. 1153, or Adams County Crime Stoppers at 717-334-8057.