NBC10.com - Daralene Jones
A Pennsylvania teenager is dead after police say her 16-year-old boyfriend stabbed her to death while the two were on a hiking trail. NBC10's Daralene Jones speaks to friends and family of the victim.
A teenage girl is dead after her boyfriend stabbed the teen along a suburban Philadelphia hiking trail.
Pennsylvania State Police say Julianne Siller, 17, was killed Saturday night by her 16-year-old boyfriend Tristan Stahley during a break-up.
The teens left the Stahley's Skippack Township, Pa. home around 8:30 p.m. and headed for Palmer Park along Creamery Road in Skippack Township, Montgomery County, Pa. Skippack is about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Investigators say the couple was walking along a nearby trail when they got into an argument over Siller "going out too much." Siller then smashed Stahley's cell phone, according to state police. Then Stahley allegedly pulled out an orange-colored folding knife and stabbed his girlfriend in the throat and body.
Stahley told police he then dragged her body off the trail and into the woods to conceal the murder.
Police say the teen then went home. His mother, Heather Stahley, told investigators it appeared Tristan had been crying and that he had blood and dirt on his legs.
When Heather asked her son what was wrong, he wouldn't explain, saying he would tell her if the two went for a walk.
Police say the two then left the house for a nearby trail and during the walk Tristan confessed to the crime. Heather asked her son if he was joking and after he replied "no" he began hysterically crying, according to the criminal complaint.
The teen explained the couple was breaking up when he stabbed Siller. Tristan told his mother he was going to kill himself because he couldn't go to jail.
The mother and son then returned home at 9 p.m. where Heather alerted the authorities.
In the meantime, Tristan waited outside.
His father, Brian Stahley, told police when he went outside, Tristan had another knife to his neck and told him to stay back.
The father and son then got into a struggle as Brian tried to wrestle the knife away. He was eventually able to get the knife, but was scratched in the face and bitten on the hand, according to police.
Minutes later, police arrived and arrested the teen.
Troopers discovered Siller’s dead body in the woods a short time later. Investigators say a trail of blood led them to the body. They also found the knife, containing blood and hair, a few feet from her body.
"This whole incident is just a tragic case," said Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele. "You have a young woman whose life was taken from her and a 16-year-old who faces potential life in prison for his actions."
Investigators say the two dated for about nine months. Friends told NBC10's Daralene Jones that the couple had various issues but Siller wanted to stick it out because she believed she could "fix" Stahley, who was a recovering drug addict and on medications for depression.
Stahley is being held without bail. He is charged with first degree murder, third degree murder and possession of a weapon.
Friends say Siller, a high school senior, was set to graduate from Spring Ford High School in Royersford, Pa. on June 12.
"She was really cool, outgoing, funny and everyone really liked her, so it's kind of sad," said Carlo Deluca.
A small memorial of flowers and a teddy bear has been set up on the hiking trail, near where Siller was killed.
"She was a girl full of life," said Susan Wesolowski, a family friend who says Siller comforted her and her husband after their son was killed in a car accident three years ago. "Bubbly, happy and just a happy go lucky girl who would do anything for her friends."
Spring-Ford Area School District Superintendent Dr. David Goodin released a statement expressing "great sadness" about Siller's death while laying out the school's plan to give support to students:
"Because the reactions to the death of a student, peer, or friend can vary, plans are currently being made to address the grieving process for our students and staff. It is important to know that the grieving process is normal and can range from withdrawal, crying, and anger. For that reason, the High School Administration and staff are working with several counseling services to ensure we are fully prepared for all students."
Grief counselors were at the school Tuesday and would remain in place as long as needed, Goodin said.