By CHRIS LIEDLE, KATU
GRESHAM, Ore. (CIRCA via KATU) — Recovery efforts continued this week in rural Pennsylvania for an Oregon woman who was brutally killed and reportedly dumped into a river.
Haley Lorenzen, 24, moved from Gresham, Oregon, to Tunkhannock Township, a small town about 136 miles north of Philadelphia, in November after she struck up an online relationship with 31-year-old Phillip Walters.
Tunkhannock Township Police say Walters reported her missing Dec. 30.
According to court documents, a woman who was also dating Walters at the time came forward and told authorities that Walters killed Lorenzen. Police said the woman, who has not been identified, found Lorenzen lifeless in his apartment and said she helped him dispose of her body by tying concrete blocks to her and dumping her body into the Susquehanna River.
Police later arrested Walters. He is charged with murder.
"The investigation is ongoing," Tunkhannock Township Police Chief Ed Morristell told WNEP, a station in Scranton, Pennsylvania. "We're working on locating our victim, Haley."
Lorenzen's family in Gresham traveled to Pennsylvania to aid in the search-and-recovery efforts. The recovery was called off temporarily because of bad weather and rising river levels.
Neighbors and friends of Lorenzen's family, Alan Cohen and Joe Doering, say hundreds of people in Tunkhannock Township embraced the family, horrified by the violent crime in their community.
Cohen and Doering felt compelled to help in Gresham by sharing Lorenzen's story in the community.
"It just felt like something needs to be done," Cohen told Circa partner KATU. "And (we) decided to step in and try to help, just try to help."
They established benefit funds and created an event for next month to support the hurting family. Doering says he and Lorenzen's mom are very involved in the Scouts program. Doering's Boy Scout troop scheduled a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for March 23 at St. Henry's Catholic Church in Gresham.
Donations are accepted at any U.S. Bank branch under the name "Haley Lorenzen Benefit Fund." A GoFundMe was also established to help pay for immediate travel expenses, lost wages and shipping when her remains are recovered.
"She was just 24," Cohen said. "She had her life in front of her."
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