Unsolved Investigations: The Irvin Hengst Case

By Angie Koehle

Published 06/04 2014 07:39AM

Updated 06/04 2014 08:09AM

KIMMEL TWP., BEDFORD COUNTY - 85-year-old Irvin Hengst was a kind, gentle, elderly man.  That's what his pastor told us shortly after Hengst's murder back in 2011.  The state trooper investigating his case also said she's heard of nothing but admiration for the long-time Imler resident.

"Just based on learning a lot about him.  He was kindhearted, he was a very trusting individual.  He would've given to anybody who asked and he would've welcomed anybody into his home," Tpr. Dana Martini said. 

That's what Tpr. Martini believes happened around May 27, 2011.  She said family members talked to him May 26, then tried to call him May 27 but couldn't reach him.  On May 28th, 2011, he was found injured and unconscious and rushed to the hospital.  He died on June 2.

"There were assumptions made that it (injuries) was the result of a fall," she said.

Those assumptions meant state police weren't contacted until after his death, though they said the severity of his injuries were apparent. Tpr. Martini says they quickly made up for lost time and zeroed in on some transient workers that paved Hengst's driveway. 

"Our suspects are transient people who come to the area.  They're otherwise referred to as gypsies or travelers.  They come to an area and saturate the area, soliciting for work," Tpr. Martini said.  "They target the elderly population and it's known when the elderly utilize cash for their services, that they often get marked for a later burglary or theft."

Tpr. Martini said a large amount of money was missing from Hengst's bedroom.  That's where he was found.

"It's known when he had driveway work done, he would've entered his bedroom to pay them," she said.

Police warn everyone, especially the elderly, to be sure you know who you're hiring to do work.  Tpr. Martini said burglary and theft by transient workers is common across the country. 

They're also asking anyone in the Kimmel Township and Imler area to come forward if they recall talking to or being approached by out-of-town driveway pavers in late May 2011.  State Police Bedford 814-623-6133

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