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Woman’s body found in Jim Thorpe backyard; man in custody

Jim Thorpe Police discovered an unidentified female body in the backyard of a South Street residence on Tuesday.

Police Chief Joe Schatz said the department plans to release more information following an autopsy, which is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The discovery came one day after police were called to the residence, at 231 South St., to do a welfare check on Laura Spencer. Spencer’s son Daniel told authorities he hadn’t spoken to his mother since July 21.

Police said Spencer’s husband, 65-year-old Peter Davis, refused to cooperate with officers, even after they obtained a search warrant for the residence.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed against Davis, he told Spencer’s daughters that she died shortly after her birthday and that “he did what he needed to do” because “he needed the money.”

A neighbor said the couple lived in the house for about a year and a half.

After police arrived at the home at 4:30 p.m. Monday, they attempted to make contact with Davis, but he did not answer the door.

“I did view that someone checked two different windows to look out at us,” officer Kyle Kohler wrote in the affidavit. Jim Thorpe police called for backup and were assisted by Nesquehoning Police Department.

While at the residence, police received a call from Daniel, informing them his mother was “buried in the backyard under plants.”

Davis would not come out of the house, police said, and cursed them, telling them to “go home.”

According to Kohler, Davis made statements such as, “I’m not going anywhere,” and “I can stay here for days.”

At one point, Davis also stuck his head out of a window and screamed at the top of his lungs. He told police there was nobody else inside the residence except his dog and cat.

Police eventually entered the home and arrested Davis, who had been shouting profanities at officers from inside. While in the police vehicle, Davis “attempted to crawl through the divider and reach for a shotgun and assault rifle.”

He later grabbed an officer’s vest and attempted to pull him into the back seat.

“Davis was taken into custody and charged with simple assault, persistent disorderly conduct, disorderly conduct and institutional vandalism,” Schatz said.

While in the holding cell at the Jim Thorpe police station, Davis began to bang on the window and scream obscenities. After being handcuffed to a bench, police said, Davis continued to yell obscenities and bang his cuffs against the bench.

“I couldn’t afford funeral services,” Davis told officers at the station.

Davis was arraigned Tuesday in front of Magisterial District Judge Eric Schrantz and bail was set at $20,000 cash. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 4 p.m.

Police said the incident is isolated and there is no danger to the public.

Police block off a section near 231 South St., Jim Thorpe, where a body was found in the backyard. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Police are searching the yard at 231 South St. in Jim Thorpe. A woman's body was found in the yard. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO