Family of missing girl thankful for support
Benefit held for family of woman who was allegedly strangled, dumped in river.
The circumstances are difficult, but the family whose daughter went missing at the end of December and is believed to be in the Susquehanna River came back to Wyoming County from Oregon this weekend to give thanks for the love and support offered to them.
On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people turned out at Ardee’s Foodrinkery in Falls Twp. for a pasta fundraiser to help the family of Haley Lorenzen, who was allegedly strangled by her boyfriend in Mill City and then her body tossed over the side of the Falls River Bridge less than 200 yards away from where the benefit took place.
“You people here are so amazing. I can’t begin to tell you what this means to our family,” Haley’s mom, Deanna Hills, of Gresham, Ore., said, holding back tears. “To everyone here surrounding us with love and support, thank you so much.”
Hills had been in the area for two weeks in January — first putting up “Missing” posters with her sister, Traci Dominguez, and then learning the horrific news of what likely happened to her daughter after a witness came forward to the Wyoming County district attorney’s office and pointed the finger at Phillip Walters, whom the witness said killed Haley on Dec. 30, and later called her to help dispose of the body in the river.
Search and rescue units have been out on the river several times over the past month, but authorities are not giving any indication what they’ve found so far.
“Your police, district attorney and detective units have said they won’t give up until she’s found, and we know they’re at the mercy of the weather and ice and murky water,” Hills said.
Haley’s dad, Ralph Lorenzen, called the efforts of the local people “fantastic” and noted, “You have such an unbelievable caring community in your midst.”
Lorenzen, of Corbett, Ore., said he missed “dad’s girl” dearly, noting that they did almost everything together in recent years, such as cooking and kayaking.
He said Haley met Walters on the internet and came to Mill City in July to meet up with him for a couple of weeks and at the time suggested she was content, but about a week later she told him, “I want to come home.” He said he sent her the money for a plane ticket, and she returned to Oregon.
But in November she came back to Pennsylvania, and the last conversation she had with him was Christmas Day. “You never know,” he said. Area residents Lizz Dewolfe and Rick Wilbur organized the benefit to help the family with anticipated expenses, and wanted to let the family know, “We do care.”
Walters remains lodged at the Wyoming County Correctional Facility in Tunkhannock.
At a pasta benefit at Ardee’s Foodrinkery in Falls Twp. are Haley Lorenzen’s family members, from left, father Ralph Lorenzen of Corbett, Ore.; aunt Traci Dominguez of Hood River, Ore.; and sister Sara Hills and mother Deanna Hills, both of Gresham, Ore.