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Autopsies Set for Monday for Deceased CU Student, Fatal Crash Victims

Monday, February 22, 2021 @ 11:02 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Image from iOS (2)HIGHLAND TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Autopsies are planned for today as authorities continue to investigate the deaths of a Strattanville couple discovered at a fatal accident scene just outside of Clarion on Saturday and a missing Clarion University student whose body was discovered in the same area.

(Photo: Bigley Road near its intersection with Miola Road. The road was closed for several hours while police investigated.)

According to Clarion County Coroner Dan Shingledecker, autopsies for James Whitman, Samuel Paine, and Lucille Paine are scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The investigation began after Clarion-based State Police received a call around 1:14 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, reporting James Whitman, a Clarion University student, went missing overnight.

James Whitman. Provided photo.

James Whitman. Provided photo.

The investigation led authorities to the area of Miola Road and McCleary Road in Highland Township, Clarion County, where troopers and members of Clarion Fire & Hose Company No. 1 searched a wooded area near Toby Creek.

During the search for Whitman, police discovered a crashed vehicle and the deceased bodies of Samuel Paine, 78, and Lucille Paine, 81, both of Strattanville.

According to police, the bodies were found near Bigley Road and Toby Creek Bridge. The nature of the incident is listed as a fatal crash. Authorities aren’t sure exactly when the accident occurred; however, investigators believe it happened not long before the bodies were discovered.

Whitman’s body was found nearby approximately 100 feet above the Toby Creek Bridge on Bigley Road.

His death is listed as accidental.

Authorities said the two incidents are unrelated.

Shingledecker told that no preliminary findings on the times or causes of the victims’ deaths will be available until after the autopsies.

“Anything I could say at this point would be speculation,” Shingledecker said.

Shingledecker noted he plans to confer with Clarion-based State Police after the autopsies regarding the preliminary findings.

“We’ll definitely know more after the autopsies today.”

However, he also noted that toxicology reports can take up to a month and full autopsy reports, with all of the findings, can take up to three months.

“This investigation is really just beginning.”


Bodies of Fatal Crash Victims, Missing Clarion U. Student Found Near Bigley Road

Clarion County Coroner Called to Scene of Missing Person Investigation

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