Police: Man hid girlfriend’s death for 2 weeks

David Buckwalter

NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – A man hid the death of his girlfriend for at least two weeks, according to charging documents.

David W. Buckwalter, 54, of Carlisle, was taken into custody Saturday and arraigned on a charge of abuse of a corpse. He was jailed in Cumberland County Prison on $250,000 bail.

Police announced Friday that they wanted to question Buckwalter about a death June 20 in the 800 block of Bridge Street.

According to charging documents, Buckwalter lived with a woman who was found dead in an apartment, 51-year-old Colette Bauer.

Another woman told police that Buckwalter asked her to spend the previous night with him. She said the apartment had a foul smell, and she said Buckwalter was gone when she awoke the next morning.

Two to three weeks earlier, she said Buckwalter adamantly told her not to go behind a curtain that covered the entrance to another room.

The woman said she looked behind the curtain June 20 to see if Buckwalter was in the room, and out of curiosity, and she saw a woman on a bed with a sheet covering her up to her chest. She called 911 because the woman’s cheeks were sunken, she did not appear to be breathing, and she did not respond when the woman called out.

Police said Bauer apparently died at least two weeks earlier. They said multiple bottles of air freshener were in the apartment and a white, powdery substance – suspected to be deodorant – was on the body, the bed and the bedroom floor.

The temperature in the apartment was kept at 64 degrees to preserve the body, police said in the complaint.

The cause of Bauer’s death has not been determined and remains under investigation.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Aug. 5.

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