Missing Penn State Professor Found Dead In Suspected Homicide
UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: A probable cause affidavit was released that details the events leading up to Bettig’s death. The Centre Daily Times reported that Ishler, along with Danelle Geier, allegedly led Bettig to the quarry under the ruse that Ishler grew marijuana near a quarry in Potter Township and that the two should travel out there and harvest it together.
Geier told police yesterday morning that the three traveled to the quarry on August 12 and Ishler and Bettig got out of the car upon arriving. Ishler then returned alone and allegedly told Geier that he had pushed Bettig off the ledge, killing him. Ishler reported Bettig missing himself three days later and, according to the affidavit, relayed “different accounts of what (led) up to and (preceded) Bettig’s death,” to Rockview police. Ishler reportedly told police he pushed Bettig over the edge and left after hearing a crunch and later (after the incident) staged the scene with various items he took from Bettig’s home, including water bottles, a small hand rake, a bag, and a flashlight.
Ishler allegedly told police that Bettig had recently signed his last will and Ishler and Geier were the beneficiaries of a large financial sum if Bettig died. The affidavit revealed that Ishler and Geier originally planned to drown Bettig in the ocean in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, but instead came up with a plan to push the professor off the quarry upon returning to the State College area.
Ishler has been charged with the first- and third-degree murder of the professor though no charges have been filed for Geier according to the affidavit.
A homicide investigation has launched. George G. Ishler Jr., a 39-year-old man from Pennsylvania Furnace is accused of murdering Bettig. He allegedly drove Bettig to the quarry “under a ruse,” police told the Centre Daily Times. Police say Ishler Jr. pushed Bettig off the ledge of the quarry and the fall caused his death. Bettig was last seen at 12:30 p.m. on August 13, and police announced a missing person’s case August 16.
Bettig, 56, was an associate professor in Penn State’s Media Studies department from Lemont. He was hired by the College of Communications in 1988, authored two books, and won the Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Communications Alumni Society in 1996.
Ishler Jr. was charged with first and third degree murder, aggravated assault, and tampering with evidence, according to Centre Daily Times. His preliminary hearing is set for 11 a.m. August 31.