CLEARFIELD – A local man has been accused of assisting with the destruction of a Ford Explorer in an effort to cover up the August 2017 murder of Chase Anderson, 19, of Curwensville.
Joseph C. Ralston III, 38, of Curwensville has been charged with reckless burning or exploding, F3; criminal conspiracy engaging-reckless burning or exploding, F3; and tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, M2.
On Wednesday Ralston had all charges bound to court following a preliminary hearing during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. Bail is set at $100,000 monetary.
According to previously-published reports, after not hearing from her son for about a week, Anderson’s mother reported him missing to Curwensville Borough police on Aug. 22, 2017.
Later that same month, Anderson’s burnt remains were discovered by state police investigators in a remote, wooded area in Pike Township.
Kenja K. Tew, 22, of Glen Richey and Denny S. Bailey, 38, of Woodland were charged with criminal homicide, assault, kidnapping, abuse of corpse, conspiracy and related offenses.
Chantell R. Demi, 26, of Woodland was charged with conspiracy-related offenses and tampering with evidence.
Additionally, Demi was charged with reckless burning or exploding, F3; criminal conspiracy engaging-reckless burning or exploding, F3; and tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, M2.
Bailey was charged with criminal conspiracy engaging-reckless burning or exploding, F3, and criminal conspiracy engaging-tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, M2.
On April 11, both Demi and Bailey had the charges in their cases bound over to the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas for further disposition. Tew waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Bailey and Tew took Anderson in a Ford Explorer into the wooded area, where they murdered him. The vehicle belonged to Bailey’s mother, state police said.
Sometime between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8, 2017, Demi and Ralston allegedly set the Ford Explorer on fire.
According to testimony previously given by Trooper David Patrick, a Clearfield-based state police criminal investigator, Demi found the vehicle and drove it from Curwensville Borough. She followed Ralston to a wooded area in Lawrence Township.
Ralston “jacked” the vehicle up and removed its wheels and tires. Then, she said they poured lighter fluid inside the vehicle and set it on fire.
Before this, Demi said she removed the paperwork from the glove box. Ralston also removed the battery and its cables. Both fled the scene together.
Demi admitted to Patrick that she had discussed destroying the vehicle with Bailey a few days before the arson while at the Clearfield County Jail. She was instructed by him to get the “unit” and to contact Ralston if she needed help.
Patrick said during interviews Sept. 23 and Oct. 3, 2017, Ralston admitted to assisting Demi with picking the location and burning the Ford Explorer. He also admitted that he was aware Tew and Bailey had murdered Anderson.