Willow Street homicide victim Comisky was sister of slaying victim Bachman
WILKES-BARRE — Police Thursday said the death of a woman in her residence in South Wilkes-Barre was suspicious and being investigated as the city’s latest homicide.
The body of Judith C. Comisky, 52, was discovered in the kitchen of 123 Willow St. on Thursday afternoon, according to a search warrant affidavit in the case.
County property records show Comisky is the owner of the home. Police responded to the property following a 911 call from friends of the deceased reporting an unconscious female covered in blood with apparent stab wounds.
Comisky was the sister of Donald Bachman, who was killed outside his own Willow Street home six years ago.
Officers responded to 123 Willow St. at approximately 1:30 p.m. and found the woman’s body on the floor of the kitchen on the first floor.
Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce earlier Thursday would neither go into detail about the death nor identify the woman, saying next of kin had not yet been notified.
“But it is suspicious and it is under investigation as a homicide by Chief (Joseph) Coffay and Wilkes-Barre Police,” Sanguedolce said.
Coffay earlier also limited his comments on why it was suspicious. “Just the way that the scene is laid out is suspicious, “ Coffay said.
Friends of the woman arrived at her house and found her inside, police said in a press release. The friends immediately contacted 911, police said.
A large police presence was at the scene from the city, Pennsylvania State Police and county detectives. Police were seen knocking on doors and asking residents for permission to view home security camera systems as part of the investigation.
A man and his daughter who declined to give their names for fear of their personal safety said their system recorded a man walking from the house to a tan car parked outside their house and driving away.
Sanguedolce told reporters there was no further danger to neighbors. Coffay added that “everything seems to be contained to this address.”
An officer from the Pennsylvania State Police forensic unit spent hours processing the crime scene. County Coroner Frank Hacken arrived early in the evening and the woman’s body was removed from the house at approximately 6:45 p.m.
Any witnesses are asked to contact the Wilkes-Barre Detective Division Det. Matt Stash or Det. Joseph Sinavage at 570-208-4225.
Comisky search warrant
According to a search warrant filed Thursday in connection with Comisky’s death:
Police responded to 123 Willow St. at 1:28 p.m. following the 911 call. They found Comisky deceased on the floor with a cell phone nearby.
When officers announced their presence, a male presented himself from an upstairs bedroom and surrendered to officers. The man identified himself as a roommate, police said, and did not display any signs of a struggle. No one else was inside the home, police said.
A police detective who arrived on scene arrived and said he observed visible injuries to the victim’s head, neck and torso. “They appeared to be stab wounds, however it is possible the injuries were caused by gunshots as well,” the affidavit states.
Officers interviewed two individuals who had gone to the home to see Comisky. The pair said they noticed a mattress blocking an entry gate, which they believed to be out of place.
They went to the other side of the home, opened a gate and went to the rear sliding glass door of the home, which was slightly ajar, the pair told police. They said they found a cell phone near the door, and then found Comisky lying on the kitchen floor.
One of the individuals went to a neighbor’s home and asked for someone to call 911, while the other checked for signs of life before leaving the home, they told police.
Past deaths in neighborhood
Thursday’s death was a block away from a high-profile killing six years ago and two blocks from the scene of a murder on Donald Court a little more than three years ago.
Bachman, 49, died May 1, 2015 in front of his home at 62 Willow St. when he arrived home after working an overnight shift as a mechanic for Martz Trailways.
Bachman’s stepdaughter, Kendra Dias, last year entered a guilty plea to a count of solicitation to commit criminal homicide after detectives alleged she paid someone $1,500 to have Bachman killed. She was sentenced to spend at least six years in prison in that case. Dias never disclosed a motive, and no one has been arrested for actually firing the shots that killed Bachman.
The body of 58-year-old Fred Boote was found in the bedroom of his house at 14 Donald Court the morning of Sept. 14, 2018. A jury convicted Reynaldo Mercado of first-degree murder in November 2020. Mercado was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His teenage accomplice, Louisa Reyes, testified against him and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. She was sentenced last year to serve 40 years to life in prison.