Son charged in death of father whose body was left on couch for weeks

Tyler Swantek faces charges in the death of his father, whose body was found on a couch. WYOU-TV/ CBS News

FRACKVILLE, Pa. (CBS) A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks.

Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the death of Todd Swantek, 49, whose body was found May 24 in the Frackville home the two formerly shared.

Police said Friday that Frackville officers called to the home to check on the welfare of the older man, who hadn’t been seen since the end of March, detected a foul odor and found the decomposing body on a first-floor couch. The head was supported by several pillows, CBS affiliate WYOU-TV reports.

“The discovery of Todd Swantek’s body was maybe a month later,” District Attorney Christine Holman said. The son, who had in the meantime been arrested on drug charges, told investigators at the county jail that he left the home April 27 due to medical conditions and hadn’t been back.

Frackville Police Chief Richard Bell said police have been told in interviews conducted for the investigation that arguments between father and son had been becoming more frequent, and there are allegations that the defendant said he would “kill his father.”

A high-powered Ruger .177 caliber pellet rifle found in Tyler Swantek’s bedroom appeared to have blood splatter on the stock and barrel, and the pellets were consistent with wounds in the victim’s skull, Bell said.

The defendant hadn’t allowed people inside the home since the middle of April and had asked a friend to buy him incense and scented candles, neither being normal behavior on his part, Bell said. At the home, police saw numerous scented candles and air fresheners as well as a fly strip and blankets placed at the base of exterior doors.

Tyler Swantek’s cellphone records indicated fairly regular contact with his father until March 29, after which there were no calls or text messaging between the two, Bell said. Phone records for the victim indicated the last outgoing text message was on April 2, after which there was no outgoing activity and all text messages went unanswered.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled Aug. 3. Court documents don’t list a defense attorney in the homicide; a public defender representing Swantek in the drug case didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Saturday.

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