On Friday, June 30, State Police at Blooming Grove filed Murder charges on 26 year old Sky Michael McDonough from Milford, in the April 2016 death of Leanna Walker in Pike County- 14 months before.
BLOOMING GROVE - On Friday, June 30, State Police at Blooming Grove filed Murder charges on 26 year old Sky Michael McDonough from Milford, in the April 2016 death of Leanna Walker in Pike County- 14 months before.
McDonough has also been charged with Kidnapping, Interference with Custody of Children, Flight to Avoid Apprehension, Trial or Punishment and Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence.
McDonough is currently in the Pike County Correctional Facility. He was arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Shannon Muir.
Human remains discovered at a former llama farm on Foster Hill Road, near Milford, Sunday, May 15, were later identified to be that of Leanna Walker. They were found during a search for the missing teenager.
Walker, who was 17 and from Milford, was reported missing on April 18, 2016.
McDonough, who was age 24, was described as Walker’s boyfriend. He was located Wednesday, April 27, in a tree house on the former Snyder llama farm on Foster Hill Road, outside Milford. He was found after an extensive manhunt and taken into custody by Milford Borough Police Department based on warrant issued in the state of New Jersey.
McDonough was being questioned about Leanna Walker’s disappearance when he fled from police custody Tuesday, April 26. He was lodged in Pike County Correctional Facility on the outstanding warrant.
According to the affidavit filed by Trooper Mark J. Pizzuti and Cpl. Shawn S. Smith, PA State Police:
Walker had left her home in the Sunrise Lakes development with McDonough on April 18, 2016. There was an active warrant out for McDonough in Sussex County, NJ, where he had failed to appear for a scheduled court appearance. Walker’s brother reported to State Police on the 18th, that McDonough had left with her that day. Sky and Leanna had been in a relationship since approximately January 2016.
A witness working at the Extra Mart on West Harford Street, Milford, contacted Milford Borough Police after he had spoken with McDonough, and was aware that Leanna Walker was reported missing. Milford Police, also aware of the warrant from New Jersey, caught up with McDonough and took him into custody.
McDonough told police he had last seen Walker around what he called the “pine fort” - a rough structure of pine trees set up behind the Key Foods market - and escorted the police there where he had claimed he left her. After a period of searching, police suspected he was not being cooperative. A thunderstorm had started, and McDonough managed to flee from the officers.
An intense search for McDonough ensued, with the aid of State Police and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.
A camp site was located at the former llama farm of the last Richard Snyder. There was evidence that Sky McDonough and Leanna Walker had been staying there.
State Police obtained legal consent from the Snyder Estate’s legal counsel to search the remainder of the estate grounds.
The victim’s mother expressed concern to State Police that McDonough may have done something to Leanna and feared that she was dead. She said he was possessive towards Leanna.
A former co-worker of McDonough told State Police that McDonough had said that if Leanna ever tried to leave him, he (McDonough) would kill her, and burn the body to cover up the smell.
On April 27, troopers caught McDonough at the llama farm.
State Police also searched the messages between Walker and McDonough and with others, on Walker’s and McDonough’s Facebook accounts. McDonough indicated he would take her to Jamaica, or “die trying.” Walker indicated she did not want to die, and did not want to leave the U.S.A.
Search continued for Leanna Walker. On May 15, 2016, Northeast Search and Rescue, using trained search dogs, were probing the llama farm property. K-9s Kona and Courageous located decomposed, human remains under a dirt pile. After executing a search warrant, State Police secured the area and waited for assistance from the Mercyhurst University Anthropology team. An analysis showed the remains to have been consistent with the missing person, Leanna Walker. There was indication the body had been burned.
Another witness reported seeing smoke from the property on April 22, which had an unusual smell. He assumed it was “just another brush fire” so did not call 9-1-1.
Monitored telephone and visitor conversations with McDonough at the Pike County Correctional Facility were also taken into evidence. In one of those conversations, with his father on July 6, 2016, Sky McDonough is recorded of having said, “If I had told police why I had done it, if I had done it, they would have given me the death penalty.”
State Police met with Leanna’s mother that day about the discovery of the remains. Her mother provided the troopers with a handwritten “divorce” document dated March 11, 2016, found in Leanna’s bedroom. The document was attributed to Sky McDonough. In it, McDonough accuses Leanna, among other things, of physical abuse, lying, flirting with other men and cheating. McDonough indicates he was setting her “free” from the relationship.
That evening, the troopers met with McDonough’s stepmother. She provided another handwritten note dated March 28, 2016 from Sky McDonough, titled “Writ of Divorce.” He cited Bible verses about adultery and divorce.
“Blood is on her head”
On May 17, a correctional officer at the Pike County Correctional Facility reported overhearing McDonough talking with another inmate. The other inmate expressed his sympathies because of the news that the police had found the body of McDonough’s girlfriend. McDonough reportedly replied, “Well the blood is on her own head because she wouldn’t change her ways,” accusing her of being “a whore, cheater, evil…” McDonough added a bear must have killed her, a lightning burned her body.
Further forensic analysis concluded that the remains were that of Leanna Walker. Pike County Corner Christopher Brighton ruled that the cause of death was homicidal violence and the manner of death was homicide. The corner’s certificate was received by the PA State Police on June 28, 2017.