A tragic murder - and I was unwittingly a suspect!

In the summer of 1998, I made my third trip to Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in research of records of our Coyan ancestors. My focus on this trip was the family of William Theaker Coyan (1805-1891), who was the youngest brother of my gggg-grandfather Hugh Coyan (1789-aft. 1860).

My research at the McKeesport Heritage Center eventually led me to the McKeesport-Versailles cemetary one hot summer afternoon. I stopped at the sexton's office, obtained a map of the sections of the cemetary that contained the graves of quite a few descendants of William T. Coyan and his two wives. Obviously "lost" while trying to decipher the map given to me, I slowly and awkwardly made my way around the cemetary in my van.

After stopping several times, getting out of the van and looking at areas in the cemetary I thought may contain family gravesites, I began to notice that there was another van 50-75 yards behind me that appeared to be "watching" every move I made. Instead of going around me as I pulled off the narrow road as best I could each time I stopped, the van behind me would also stop, always keeping the 50 or so yards distance between us. Every place I went, for at least 30 minutes, the van would follow. As daylight began to dwindle and I finally realized the "possibilities" of being a potential crime "victim", I decided to leave the cemetary, go back to my motel room, and return the next day to complete my family search.

After showering, kicking back on the motel bed ,and digesting some of the materials I had uncovered at the Heritage center that day, I decided to turn on the 11 PM news to see what the weather forcast had in store for the next day. To my amazement, the lead story on the Pittsburgh TV station that I tuned into began to talk about the incredibly brutal slaying of a 12-13 year old girl whose body was found the previous day in THE  McKEESPORT-VERSAILLES CEMETARY!  

The reporter described the area of the cemetary where this innocent child's body was found, so I guess out of normal curiousity, I sought to locate the area. The next day when I returned, it was not hard to spot the sharp embankment that dropped off into the edge of the cemetary. The heavy brush area where  - evidently her body was found - had been stripped clean by the crime investigators and a ten foot diameter circle of bare earth stood out in the midst of the dense underbrush. It was so unnerving that I had to leave the cemetary, once I finally realized why - most likely - I had been "stalked" the previous evening.

It just so happens that this area of the cemetary where I was looking for Coyan gravesites had also been the area where this young girl 's body was found. I have no idea if this murder case was ever solved. All I know is that I was potentially in the wrong place at the wrong time...

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