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Police didn’t go inside home after 911 call; woman killed

July 10, 2019

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in Pennsylvania are investigating whether police responded appropriately to a 911 call made from a home where a woman was later found shot to death.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced a homicide charge Wednesday against the victim’s 80-year-old husband, Edgar Himel. Police are looking for Himel.

Authorities said a 911 call was placed from the cellphone of Himel’s wife, 66-year-old Penny VanTassel-Himel, around 2:20 a.m. July 4. The woman who made the call told dispatchers she had an emergency and confirmed the address. Palmer Township police officers went to the home to investigate and saw an older man fitting Himel’s description through a window, but did not go inside, authorities said Wednesday.

Police believe VanTassel-Himel was killed that day. Officers found her body three days later.

“The whole thing is going to be reviewed by the Palmer Police Department, whether protocol was followed at that time,” Morganelli said.

The victim’s family said they can’t understand why police didn’t follow up.

“We were very upset,” VanTassel-Himel’s daughter, Vivian Elam of Allentown, told LehighValleyLive.com.

Van-Tassel’s sister, Nona Edwards-Thomas, said she spoke with Edgar Himel on the phone after failing to reach VanTassel-Himel, and asked him where her sister was.

“He said, ‘I don’t know,’” Edwards-Thomas said.

Morganelli said Edgar Himel has “made a number of contacts with individuals” since leaving the area and acknowledged he “screwed things up, messed things up in a substantial way and he was leaving the area.”

Court documents did not list an attorney for Himel.

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