By Ed Runyan
Larry Heltzel, the father of Patrick Heltzel, filed a missing-persons report Wednesday with the Warren Police Department, saying that Patrick, 20, had said he was “going to kill someone.”
Two days later, after Warren Township police found the body of Milton A. Grumbling III, 71, dead of stab wounds in his Kincaid East home, they identifed Patrick as a suspect and talked to him by telephone.
Kincaid East is between North Leavitt and Templeton roads near Champion Township.
Patrick Heltzel, of 3230 Atlantic St. NE, was in Greensboro, N.C., with his mother and admitted to a detective he knew Grumbling and was at his house Wednesday. Patrick Heltzel told the detective he “would return to Ohio” and speak to detectives.
But “a short time later,” Heltzel’s mother called the detective back “crying and hysterical,” saying her son told her he had “stabbed a guy named Milton,” according to a Warren Township police officer’s affidavit.
Trumbull County authorities contacted police in Greensboro and asked that they apprehend Patrick Heltzel, which they did. Heltzel remained in Greensboro on Monday awaiting extradition to Ohio.
Patrick Heltzel was charged Monday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court with murder.
Grumbling, a Packard Electric retiree, was an organist for area Masonic lodges and historian for the Warren Masonic Temple, according to his obituary.
The charge against Patrick Heltzel was accompanied by an affidavit filed by Lt. Don Bishop of the township police department, containing details of the missing-persons report and conversations with Patrick Heltzel and his mother.
The affidavit said police first suspected Patrick Heltzel in the case because information in Grumbling’s cellphone indicated that he had spoken with Patrick Heltzel, Bishop said.
In his missing-person’s report, Larry Heltzel told police Patrick Heltzel was using Larry Heltzel’s car without permission and Patrick had drug problems and mental issues in the past.
Patrick Heltzel pleaded guilty in November 2012 in Warren Municipal Court to misdemeanor drug abuse, possession or use of marijuana.
The affidavit says police found Grumbling dead Thursday in his home. His dentures were broken, his glasses were off, and a broken remote control was under his face.
He had been stabbed several times, including to his heart, and he had facial fractures, the affidavit said.
Dr. Humphrey German-iuk, Trumbull County coroner, conducted an autopsy Friday, though Dr. Germaniuk could not be reached Monday regarding the autopsy.
Grumbling filed a police report in November, saying a man had threatened to kill him at his house.
Grumbling said the man, whose name was not Patrick Heltzel, had called him at 1 a.m. asking Grumbling to pick him up at the Mahoning Avenue Giant Eagle, which Grumbling did.
He took the man to his house, where the man “became belligerent, pulled a knife and held it to Grumbling’s neck and threatened to cut his throat and cut his eyes out,” according to a police report.
The man then stabbed Grumbling’s phone, breaking it.
Grumbling escaped, running out of the house and hiding under a neighbor’s trailer for two hours.