Two Waive Meth Lab Hearings Connected to Kayla Dunlap Death Case

| October 11, 2017

CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – Two Clarion County residents facing felony drug charges waived their preliminary hearings in district court in New Bethlehem on Tuesday.

According to court records, the preliminary hearings for 23-year-old Jennifer Marie Elder, of Petrolia, and 46-year-old Matthew T. Hoover, of Rimersburg, were waived in front of District Judge Jeffrey Miller.

Both individuals face the following charges:

– Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, Felony
– Conspiracy – Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, Felony
– Operating a Methamphetamine Lab, Felony 2
– Deposits, Stores, Disposes Chemical Waste, Felony 3
– Possessing Phenylpropanolamine, etc., or a Precursor Substance with Intent to Unlawfully Manufacture, Felony
– Knowingly Possessing Ephedrine, Misdemeanor
– Intentional Possession Controlled Substance By Person Not Registered, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor

Court documents indicate that the bail amounts for both Elder and Hoover have been changed from $100,000.00 monetary to $10,000.00 unsecured.

Both individuals were released from Clarion County Jail on October 10.

According to court documents, the bail action reason was listed as “Agreement between prosecution and defense.”

An investigation into the death of Kayla Dunlap, of Callensburg, led Butler-based State Police to file drug charges against Elder and Hoover, as well as Wendy R. Fross, 40, of Rimersburg.

Court documents indicate that on September 29, state police filed the following charges against Fross:

– Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, Felony
– Conspiracy – Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, Felony
– Operating a Methamphetamine Lab, Felony 2
– Deposits, Stores, Disposes Chemical Waste, Felony 3
– Possessing Phenylpropanolamine, etc., or a Precursor Substance with Intent to Unlawfully Manufacture, Felony
– Knowingly Possessing Ephedrine, Misdemeanor
– Intentional Possession Controlled Substance By Person Not Registered, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor

According to court records, as of Wednesday morning, Fross is not in custody, and the case status is listed as inactive.

Details of the case:

Dunlap, who was known to stay with the trio at a Rimersburg residence, was found dead on Sunday, September 17, near a Butler County reservoir.

A criminal complaint filed by Butler-based State Police Trooper Brown indicates the investigation was initiated after a woman who was later identified as 28-year-old Kayla Dunlap, of Callensburg, was found dead in a wooded area along Lake Road near Oneida Valley Dam in Oakland Township, Butler County.

“Based on evidence found at the scene, it is believed that Dunlap was left on the side of the road after she died in a different location,” stated Trooper Brown in the criminal complaint.

Kayla Dunlap

Kayla Dunlap

Dunlap’s purse and other belongings were found near her body.

The criminal complaint states that an autopsy performed on Dunlap on September 17 revealed a defensive hand wound and a perimortem contusion on or around her head.

Further information obtained led investigators to a residence located at 116 Main Street, Rimersburg, on Monday, September 17.

The criminal complaint states that Dunlap was known to stay at the residence with Jennifer Elder, Wendy Fross, and Matthew Hoover.

Interviews conducted with the residents revealed “drug use, manufacturing, distributing, and overdoses” occurred at the residence.

Investigators found a white Ford F-150 registered to Matthew Hoover’s mother at the residence. Elder, Fross, and Hoover all had access to the truck, according to the criminal complaint.

Police observed a black vinyl strap hanging over the truck’s headrest – similar to one found near Dunlap’s deceased body.

The truck was towed to the State Police barracks in Butler for further examination.

Police searched the vehicle and found three garbage bags containing various items used to manufacture crystal meth.

Items found in the garbage bags included strips of metal, batteries, plastic bottles containing a substance inside, syringes, empty cold pack boxes, drain cleaner, paper filters, and starter fluid.

A check stub with Fross’s name on it was also found in one of the bags.

On Monday, September 18, a search warrant was executed at 116 Main Street and crystal meth was found inside the residence, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint states that additional information was obtained during interviews that indicated crystal meth was being manufactured at the residence.

Butler-based State Police subsequently filed criminal charges against Elder, Fross, and Hoover, on Friday, September 29, at District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller’s office in New Bethlehem.

An Emlenton man, 49-year-old Shaun M. Long, who was known to be an associate of Dunlap’s, is also facing drug charges in Venango County following a search of his residence.

Long’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18, in District Judge Patrick Lowery’s office.

Dunlap’s death remains under investigation.

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