Woman dies of self-inflicted gunshot after police come to house
Police respond to the 500 block of Mauch Chunk Road in Palmerton. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS
A Palmerton woman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Thursday when police came to serve a warrant.
Borough police responded to a residence in the 500 block of Mauch Chunk Road to serve an arrest warrant to Belinda Heller, 46, for corruption of minors and related charges, according to Palmerton Police Detective Kevin Buck.
He said borough police Chief Randy Smith was out to the rear of the home, while Buck went back in.
As Buck entered the bedroom, that’s when Heller discharged the firearm, he said.
Buck said police went inside the home and found a teen and took him out as a safety precaution.
“The 15-year-old that was taken out of there was not wanted, was not under arrest,” Buck said. “He was taken out in handcuffs as a safety precaution.”
Buck said Heller did not live in the home where the incident occurred.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Buck:
Buck began an investigation into a report of a reported sexual relationship between Heller and a 15-year-old male juvenile.
The police department received several sexually explicit letters that had been mailed to the juvenile while he was in a secure juvenile lockup facility.
The letters were signed by Heller and were sometimes accompanied with pictures of her.
On July 31, Buck spoke with Heller at the police department for a more formal interview.
Upon her arrival, Heller was provided with her Miranda warnings, which she signed and waived agreeing to speak with Buck.
Heller acknowledged the letters and said they were in poor taste, however, she denied any sexual encounters with the juvenile.
Upon further questioning, Heller said that she had kissed the juvenile once sometime she believed to be in January, and that nothing more than that ever happened.
Through the course of the investigation, a search warrant was executed on the Facebook account belonging to Heller.
As Buck reviewed the obtained messages, it was found that Heller had a conversation with her daughter, and that during the conversation, Heller acknowledged a sexual encounter.
On Sept. 20, Buck was able to identify the-then 15-year-old boy who said he was at Heller’s home one night drinking when an encounter occurred.
Reporter Brian Myszkowski contributed to this report.