Pennsylvania authorities announced on Monday that they believe they found a missing woman who disappeared earlier this year under disturbing circumstances. Though positive identification is pending, Allegheny County Police Department suggest human remains found near a motorcycle in a small village belong to 59-year-old Darlene Harbison, who disappeared on Sept. 11, 2022.
A hunter reported finding a motorcycle — whose license plate was registered to Harbison — over a hillside along Nichola Road in Worthington Township of Armstrong County, officers said. After state police reported finding human remains nearby, they turned matters over to medical examiner’s office, which will handle formal identification.
Harbison’s family reportedly harbored fears of such a discovery long ago. On Oct. 7, they told reporters from the TV station WPXI that they believed Harbison’s motorcycle might be with her body and staged to make it seem like an accident.
The license plate was registered to Darlene Harbison. State Police responded to the area and located human remains near the motorcycle. County Police detectives and the county’s Mobile Crime Unit responded to the area. The remains will be taken to the ME’s office for formal id.
— Allegheny County PD (@AlleghenyCoPD) December 5, 2022
The 59-year-old was reported missing to cops in Frazer Township, northeast of Pittsburgh, after her daughter could not reach her. Cops and her family believe that her ex-boyfriend Eric Gibbs, 57, had something to do with her going missing. He’s not around to reveal his secrets. Gibbs died by suicide, found dead on Sept. 17.
“Harbison’s daughter made several attempts to contact her mother with no success, she then requested a welfare check through the Frazer Township Police Department,” police said. “Allegheny County Police detectives, along with Frazer Township Police, initiated an investigation. Through the investigation, it was learned Harbison was in a volatile relationship with 57-year-old Eric Gibbs. It is believed Gibbs is the person responsible for Harbison’s disappearance. On September 17, 2022, Gibbs was found deceased from an apparent suicide in West Deer Township.”
If those are indeed Harbison’s remains, it confirms her family’s worst fears.
“When we got that message that [Gibbs] had killed himself, our hearts sank because there was no indication from him as to where she is — where her body may be,” Harbison’s brother Bob Ruediger told WPXI in the Oct. 7 report.
“It’s like worse than a nightmare.” The mother & siblings of Darlene Harbison are not giving up hope. The Frazer Township woman went missing on Sept 11. The family looks for her every day & strangers are searching for clues too. The search is expanding – details tonight on @KDKA. pic.twitter.com/W3EyqUguga
— Jessica Guay (@JessicaGuayTV) October 20, 2022
The missing woman had received a protection from abuse order against her ex. She made a series of distressing allegations against him in the months leading to her disappearance.
“He has picked me up and held me down in the hot tub,” she said, according to court documents obtained by WPXI.
She described an incident in which she found him in the bedroom with a half-gallon of vodka. He was holding a gun to his chin. Gibbs also allegedly broke her car window. He would stop her from calling police, such as by waiving his gun around or putting it to his chin, Harbison reportedly said in court documents.
That was enough to convince the judge, who wrote, “There is an immediate and present danger of further abuse.”
Gibbs had reportedly violated the protection from abuse order in a June incident. He was arrested on Sept. 9 for allegedly trespassing on Harbison’s property. Gibbs was reportedly accused of pulling down his pants and exposing himself to cops in that incident. Officers reportedly took away two rifles, including one that had a wiped-out serial number.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the Allegheny County Police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477); callers can remain anonymous. The department can also be reached via its social media sites.
[Images via Allegheny County Police Department]
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