SOMERSET, Pa. — A Paint Township man has been charged with killing his wife and burying her under their Dark Shade Drive home.
James Dwayne Kline, 48, was charged after being questioned Wednesday at the state police barracks in Somerset, Trooper Cliff Greenfield said Wednesday evening.
Earlier Wednesday, Greenfield had confirmed that 46-year-old Cora Kline’s body was found in a burial site underneath her mobile home following a multi-agency search – and that tattoos were used to make a positive identification.
James Kline had reported his wife missing in early April.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, police said the cause and manner of Cora Kline’s death remained undetermined, but an interview with her husband after the press conference changed that situation.
“We believe Mr. Kline strangled his wife to death and buried her under the building,” Greenfield said. “He then reported her to us as missing, so he misled us.”
James Kline has been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault,
strangulation, abuse of a corpse, simple assault, making false reports and
tampering with evidence.
Greenfield expected Kline would be arraigned later Wednesday before District Judge Susan Mankamyer.
After questioning on Wednesday, James Kline had what police believe was a medical episode.
He was transported to UPMC Somerset, Greenfield said.
On Monday, state police received information that led them to take a closer look at the Dark Shade Drive residence, Greenfield said at the Wednesday afternoon press briefing, declining to elaborate.
After obtaining permission to search the home, investigators discovered indications of a burial site underneath the mobile home.
“The property was immediately secured and additional resources were summoned,” he said.
That included support from a forensic anthropology team from Mercyhurst University, which arrived at the scene Tuesday to assist investigators, Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said at the press conference.
After Windber Fire Department cut through sections of aluminum siding for the team to gain access to the burial site, the body was discovered and a post-mortem exam was completed at ForensicDX in Windber.
During the afternoon briefing, Lazzari-Strasiser acknowledged the positive identification of Kline brought one element of the investigation to a conclusion
– the missing person case – but said that questions remain about what caused her death and how she ended up there.
“After the press conference, (James Kline) came into our station and agreed to speak with our troopers,” Greenfield said Wednesday evening.
“We obtained information that enabled us to place him under arrest.”
On Wednesday evening, Greefield said the case is still an “open investigation” and would not say if more arrests are expected.
“We are still asking for the public to provide any information to us,” he said.
Lazzari-Strasiser credited state police investigators, their Greensburg-based forensics unit, the forensic anthropology team led by Dennis Dirkmaat and ForensicDX for their swift, professional work – enabling Kline’s identity to be confirmed in a matter of hours.
“The resources we have at our fingertips ... it’s incredible,” she said.