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Missing Persons Case Now a Homicide Investigation

SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- After a full day of searching the home of a missing man in Luzerne County, troopers declared it a case of homicide.

State police from the Wyoming barracks have been searching Bill Morse's property for more than 12 hours. Troopers tell Newswatch 16 they'll likely be there all night.

State police and an FBI evidence response team ramped up the search for Morse Wednesday morning, using a sealed search warrant to sift through brush and wood in what appeared to be a burn pile near his property on Hollow Road in Sugarloaf Township.

Then just before 6 p.m. troopers had an update.

"It is no longer a missing person, it is a criminal homicide investigation. We're not going to give any other updates at this time," said Tpr. Deanna Piekanski, Pennsylvania State Police.

This story has been on the minds of many in southern Luzerne County, beginning in June 2018 when Morse was first reported missing. The case then went largely quiet until this week.

On Monday, 15 months after Morse disappeared, a friend of his made a plea for help, wanting answers.

On Tuesday, state police were alerted that someone was using pictures of Morse on a dating website under the name "Stubby." Troopers believe whoever was behind that account used pictures from a page dedicated to finding Morse on Facebook.

Troopers would not say what they found Wednesday that lead them to change the missing persons case into a criminal homicide investigation, but they do plan to continue searching the property.

"It's heartbreaking for the family to have waited so long to see what happened to him. I just hope that they get some closure," said Leah Gerbino of Sugarloaf.

The search warrant for this case is sealed, so it could be a while before we find out what troopers are able to uncover. They did tell Newswatch 16 that this search extends beyond just Morse's property into other undisclosed areas in southern Luzerne County.

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