Lehigh Valley

Police seek 'armed and dangerous' man after wife found dead in Palmer home

80-year-old husband named suspect

PALMER TWP., Pa. - Authorities in Northampton County are searching for an 80-year-old man who Palmer Township police say is a suspect in the homicide of his wife.

Penny VanTassel-Himel, 66, was found dead inside her home in the 100 block of Old Orchard Drive early Sunday morning, officials said.

Neighbors said she was a kind woman who went to church every Sunday. When she didn't show up for services Sunday, the pastor began to worry.

According to the township police department, her husband, Edgar Himel, is a suspect. The deputy district attorney has also labeled Himel, 80, as a person of interest.

One friend of the couple said earlier this week, he saw bags packed in one of  Himel's cars. Then Sunday morning, he said VanTassel-Himel's pastor relayed concerns to him about her wellbeing, after she didn't show up to church that morning. The pastor then called police.

A neighbor of the Himels said VanTassel-Himel was a kind woman.

"She was always kind to my parents who lived here before us. She was very kind, went to church every Sunday," said Patricia Reifinger.

Police said Himel may be driving a green 2019 Nissan Rogue. An alert from Palmer police said Himel is considered "armed and dangerous."

Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli said investigators believe the death happened several days ago. He said there is believed to be no immediate threat to the public.

Neighbors said they're still shaken up and anxious for a resolution.

"I am totally shocked. We've never had anything like this," said Reifinger. "It just makes you really step back and see how close these things can be."

Anyone with information on Himel's whereabouts should contact police.

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