KYLERTOWN – A 29-year-old Morrisdale man has been accused of murdering a San Diego, Calif. man, Ronald Bruce Ford, 40, in 2013, according to court documents from Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling’s office.
Ryan M. Gaines, 29, of Morrisdale has been charged with criminal homicide; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; aggravated assault; robbery; theft by unlawful taking; simple assault; and abuse of corpse.
Charges were filed against Gaines Friday through Nevling’s office. Upon arraignment he was lodged in the Clearfield County Jail and denied bail. Gaines’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the CCJ.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Ford was reported missing by family members to the state police on Feb. 26, 2013. Upon investigation it was found Gaines, who resided on Deer Creek Road, Morrisdale, was the last person to be seen with Ford.
On March 1, 2013, Trooper William Mostyn of the Clearfield-based state police located Gaines at his residence. Gaines confirmed that on Feb. 21, 2013, he picked up Ford, who stayed at his residence that night.
Trooper Terry Jordan and Corporal Michael Mays conducted a consensual search of Gaines’ residence. During the search of a rear bedroom where Ford had reportedly stayed at, Mays pulled back bed sheets and observed two bath towels, which covered up a large blood stain on the mattress. Blood evidence was collected at the scene and troopers submitted it for DNA analysis.
On June 2, 2013, Gaines was incarcerated at the CCJ on unrelated charges. At that time, Gaines told Trooper David Patrick that he was willing to show him where he had disposed of Ford’s body.
On June 3, 2013, Patrick arranged for Gaines to be released into his custody. He and Corporal Mary Jane McGinnis transported Gaines to a wooded area off of Rollingstone Road in Covington Township. Corporal Robert Straw and Trooper Dewayne Kephart accompanied them to the scene.
Upon arrival Gaines directed Patrick and Straw to the location where he had dumped Ford’s body. Straw subsequently located human skeletal remains.
Blood evidence from the mattress collected from Gaines’ residence on March 1, 2013 confirmed it was that of Ford. The teeth collected from the skeletal remains found on June 3, 2013 were compared to known dental records of Ford and found to match, the affidavit states.
Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, professor of anthropology and director of applied forensic sciences at Mercyhurst College, Erie, examined Ford’s remains. Dirkmaat found that Ford was shot in the face and one small projectile was found in his skull.
On Friday, Patrick interviewed Gaines at the Clearfield barracks. He said that on Feb. 21, 2013, he and a female picked up Ford and returned to his residence on Deer Creek Road. Gaines said they stayed up throughout the night playing cards and using various drugs.
At some point, Gaines said they went into separate bedrooms; he continued to use more drugs and decided to kill Ford. Gaines said he grabbed a shotgun and walked from his bedroom to Ford’s bedroom multiple times.
According to Gaines, on the fourth or fifth time, he opened the bedroom door, shooting Ford while he was sitting on the bed. He then took Ford’s money, heroin and crack cocaine from his lock box. He and the female consumed some of the drugs and he also sold a portion of them.
Gaines said he and the female left the residence, but he returned later by himself. He loaded Ford’s body into his truck and traveled with it to a wooded area along Gray Hampton Road. Gaines said that the next night, he moved Ford’s body to the wooded area off of Rollingstone Road.
Prior to leaving the scene, Gaines said he burned Ford’s clothes, as well as the bedding that he’d been wrapped in. On his way home, Gaines said he stopped on the Pinchy Bridge along Deer Creek Road and discarded of Ford’s lock box, cellular phone and watch into the Susquehanna River.