Man incarcerated following wife's death
A Monroe Township man was ordered incarcerated in lieu of bail following the death of his wife after a domestic dispute at their residence.
According to information filed with Magisterial District Judge Tim Clark, Scott Raymond Kunkle, 29, of 239 Kent Run Road, has been charged by state police with simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person. Kunkle's wife, Patricia Joyce Kunkle, 28, of the same address, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital in Towanda around 5:05 p.m. on July 14. An autopsy was performed at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y. The cause of death has not yet been determined by the authorities.
"On July 14, at 5:05 p.m., Patricia Kunkle was pronounced dead after arriving via ambulance to Towanda Memorial Hospital," explained Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman. "Patricia was transferred from her private residence where she resided with her husband. An autopsy was performed on the body of Patricia Kunkle on July 15. Initial autopsy findings did reveal relevant findings, however, none of which would permit the causation of death to be established at this time. Additional studies have been requested, including toxicology. I would not expect the results of those tests any time sooner than two weeks. In the mean time, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Bradford County Coroner's office will continue our investigation. Upon completion of the investigation and receipt of the test findings, we will review all evidence and establish a cause and manner of death," Carman concluded.
Police reported responding to the Kunkle residence around 3:50 p.m., after being contacted by Bradford County dispatch, advising of an unresponsive female on the premises. When they arrived, police continued, they found Patricia Kunkle being prepared by emergency personnel to be transferred via ambulance. Ambulance personnel advised that Patricia Kunkle was breathing, but her pupils were dilated which was a sign that she was in grave danger of losing her life.
Around 5 p.m., the reported continued, Scott Kunkle was interviewed by investigating officer Trooper Jeffrey Srendenscheck. Scott Kunkle informed Srendescheck that he had been drinking alcoholic beverages and partying all weekend with his wife at their residence. Scott Kunkle said they were suppose to go to Patricia's grandfather's residence today (July 14) to take some belongings out of the house. Scott Kunkle said he was hung over and really didn't want to do it, and Patricia was berating him because all he wanted to do was sleep. Kunkle said he went to sleep around 11:30 a.m., and was awakened by Patricia around 3 p.m. Kunkle said Patricia was yelling and calling him a "bum," telling him that they had things to do.
According to the criminal complaint, Kunkle told Srendenscheck that Patricia hit him with a semi-closed fist on the left side of his head near his temple and ear. He said that it was still "stinging" and he had to keep his balance by grabbing the bannister located on the left side of the steps. Kunkle said he started to go up the steps, and Patricia stopped him as he got to the top of the landing. Kunkle told Srendescheck he pushed past Patricia, causing her to hit the wall behind her, the complaint continued. In the process, Kunkle said, Patricia's back hit the wall first, then her head, causing her to fall to the floor on her buttocks, according to the report. Kunkle informed Srendescheck that Patricia's head hit the wall hard, but he didn't mean to push her that hard. Kunkle speculated that when Patricia hit the wall it put her into respiratory distress, Srendescheck reported in the criminal complaint.
Kunkle continued by explaining that he thought Patricia was all right at that point, and went into the bathroom for a few minutes. When he came out, Kunkle said, he found Patricia still on the floor, and observed her lips were blue, that she was wheezing, and a "gargling" sound was coming from her. Kunkle explained that Patricia is an asthmatic, and attempted to provide treatment with a nebulizer in the room. After using the nebulizer, Kunkle said, Patricia started looking better, there was more color to her face and she was not as blue. Kunkle said he slapped Patricia a few times to get her to come to, but she did not respond. Kunkle told Srendescheck he also dumped a glass of cold water on Patricia's face, and shook her and slapped her face in an attempt to revive her, but was unsuccessful, according to the affidavit.
At approximately 5:25 p.m., Srendescheck reported, he received word from Trooper Richard Evans at Memorial Hospital that Patricia Kunkle had died. When he told Scott Kunkle of this, Srendescheck said, Kunkle explained that he and Patricia had been doing bath salts over the weekend - that this was what the fight was all about, the criminal complaint continued. Kunkle explained that Patricia had his left middle finger in her mouth during the altercation, and was trying to bite it off. Kunkle said he slammed Patricia's head against the wall twice, during the incident, using his forearms. Kunkle told Srendescheck that she let go of his finger at that point, and flailed her arms at him, before falling to the ground. Patricia then tried to grab his legs, Kunkle explained, resulting in him kicking her with his foot once or twice as he stepped back.
Kunkle told Srendescheck his finger was gushing blood, so he went into the bathroom to wash it off. Everything else, Kunkle told Srendescheck, was the same as he told him before. Kunkle said he also attempted to do chest compressions and rescue breathing on Patricia, and was advised after he called 911 that he needed an ambulance because his wife was unresponsive.
Following the interview, Srendescheck spoke to the coroner, who said that during the physical inspection of Patricia Kunkle's body after she was pronounced dead, he observed what appeared to be petechiae hemorrhaging in her right lower eyelid and reddening in both eyes.
Later in the day, around 7:30 p.m., the report continued, Scott Kunkle was interviewed by state police Trooper David Pelachick about the incident. Kunkle told Pelachick that he struck Patricia four times in the neck because she was biting one of his fingers, then said he struck her four times in the mouth with all his might, causing her head to strike the wall behind her while his finger was still in her mouth.
Scott Kunkle's preliminary hearing has been scheduled before Judge Clark on July 24.