|Birth: ||Jan. 17, 1972|
|Death: ||Aug. 21, 1985|
Of David Wellington Reed, a seventh grader who had once dreamed of flying, the 1985-1986 Schuylkill Haven Area Middle School yearbook quoted teacher John Zuber as saying "There will forever be one less jet trail in the sky." On Thursday, August 21, 2008, an arrest was made on the 23rd anniversary of the disappearance of the 13 year old boy of Schuylkill Haven, PA. He had been found in December 1985 in a thicket, months after he left home on his bicycle. Arrested at his Pottsville home, Joseph Geiger told state police "I didn't do it." He was arraigned on charges of voluntary manslaughter, third degree murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering. His arrest came on the heels of an investigation led by State Police Cpl. Robert Betnar, formerly of Schuylkill Haven and stationed at Blooming Grove in Pike County, PA at the time of the arrest. Back in 1985, most of Reed's remains were found in the woods in Cressona Borough, but police said other parts of his remains were later found at a private home, where the unidentified resident had said his dog had brought them home. Geiger himself later told the local news program at WNEP that his dog had found David's bones at a location close to Geiger's then-residence. County pathologist Richard Bindie's autopsy report left the cause of death as "undetermined" which allowed further investigation to continue. Still, with no homicide determination, no arrest could be made. The boy's body was exhumed in January 2008, and the subsequent investigation changed the cause of death from "undetermined" to "homicide" in July. It was at that time that officials also stated they had a suspect who was not yet publicly named. The remains were required to stay with the state police until the investigation was completed. After sentencing, his killer, as part of the deal received, had to pay for the reburial of the victim's remains. Joseph P. Geiger, 43, of 219 N. Centre St., Pottsville, who suspected the boy of stealing his marijuana plants, pleaded guilty to the crime February 26, 2009 in Schuylkill County Court and was sentenced to one to two years in state prison. Geiger pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and simple assault. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the two most serious charges against him, third-degree murder and aggravated assault. It emerged that Geiger had hit the boy, who then fell backward onto a steel plate. Over the years, the victim's family had been shrinking; David's father died when the boy was young, his mother died in 2000, and his stepfather in 2005. Virginia Meadows, a sister who actively encouraged police continuance of the investigation, died in 2007. His remaining immediate family members were his brothers, Joseph Reed, of Fort Myers, Florida, and James Reed of Ohio. In July of 2009, his remains were once again laid to rest. "It's almost 24 years to get him to finally rest in peace. I was there for the first funeral and now we finally have the answers to everything. Now he can finally rest in peace," said Rhonda Sheriff, a cousin who attended the service with about 15 other family members including her brother, Wayne Marks, 47. County Coroner Joseph E. Lipsett, who investigated the case as part of the coroner's office and later as a state trooper at the Schuylkill Haven expressed his gladness for the service, saying "The kid deserved to rest in peace. I hope it's closure for the family." The case was the county's oldest homicide, solved more than 23 1/2 years after the incident. Bostonian Bob Halloran, author of "Irish Thunder: The Hard Life & Times of Micky Ward" upon which the movie "The Fighter" was based and upon which he served as technical consultant, announced plans in June 2010 to pen a book about the Reed case.
Beloved brothers, together forever.
Schuylkill Memorial Park
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Aug 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29205991