Police: Dillsburg men dumped dying friend near creek

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • State police said one of the defendants, Malachi Peter Scripko, cried as he confessed and was apologetic.

Two Dillsburg-area men are locked up, accused of dumping a dying acquaintance along the Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County because he was overdosing on fentanyl, according to police.

Caleb Michael Harley, 25, also of Dillsburg, died Dec. 17, 2016, of a combination of freshwater drowning, hypothermia and multiple drug toxicity, according to Trooper Brent Miller, spokesman for the state police.

Jacob White

The temperature that night was between 26 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit, police said.

Malachi Peter Scripko, 20, of the 400 block of Siddonsburg Road in Monaghan Township,and Jacob Seneca White, 23, of the first block of West York Street in Dillsburg, remain in Cumberland County Prison on $250,000 bail each.

They are charged with aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, theft and receiving stolen property.

Harley's body was left in the creek bed along Creek Road in Monroe Township on late Dec. 16 or in the early-morning hours of Dec. 17, according to charging documents filed against the men.

No wallet or ID: He was only partially clothed and had no wallet or identification on him, police said.

However, troopers found a receipt in his pocket from a Dillsburg beverage store that was time-stamped 4:25 p.m. Dec. 16.

Malachi Peter Scripko

Through that receipt, they were able to track down Harley's mother and determine his identity, documents state.

They also found Harley's cellphone. An analysis of it determined he had been in contact with a drug dealer in Harrisburg on Dec. 16, trying to buy drugs, according to police.

Documents state that Carroll Township Police in northern York County helped state police determine who Harley was with around the time of his death.

The allegations: Charging documents allege Harley was in a car with Scripko and White, who drove him to Harrisburg to buy heroin. On the way back, Harley snorted some of the drugs — which police testing later determined was actually the powerful opioid fentanyl.

Harley started to overdose in the car, unable to talk, having trouble breathing and making a sound that Scripko described to investigators as a "death rattle," documents state.

Caleb Harley

Scripko told troopers he and White started "freaking out" and didn't know what to do, so they stopped along Creek Road and pulled Harley out of the car, charging documents allege.

Harley was on one knee, trying to stand up, and was mumbling something, documents allege Scripko told police.

Scripko and White got back in the car and drove off — but not before taking his wallet, $170 and the rest of his drugs, charging documents allege.

Apologetic: Scripko — who cried throughout his confession and said he wanted to apologize to Harley's family — told police he believed Harley was most likely dead.

Scripko also said he didn't call 911 or take Harley to a hospital because he was afraid he'd get in trouble.

White declined to confirm Scripko's account to troopers, and when one of them said Harley didn't have to die that night, White responded, "He messed with heroin ... he threw us into that situation," documents state.

"It's bad enough that it happened to us. ... I didn't make him do that heroin, he did that ... behind my back, and threw us into a situation that might have cost us jail time," White allegedly told police, according to documents.

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'Sticking to story': While also told investigators he believed they were "trying to make my life horrible."

"I'm sticking to my story," White told a trooper, documents state. He'd previously told police that he and Scripko dropped off Harley in the area of Creek Road because Harley asked them to.

He then declined to say anything else without an attorney present, saying "it's never gonna stop," charging documents allege.

White and Scripko were arraigned Friday by Mechanicsburg-area District Judge Mark Martin.

It is unclear whether the defendants have retained attorneys.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.