WILKES-BARRE — A Plains Township woman said Friday she did not start the fire that destroyed a shed where human remains were discovered earlier this year.
Linasheri D’Onofrio, 50, made the statement as she was being escorted by Luzerne County sheriff deputies after an appearance before District Judge James Dixon on unrelated theft and forgery charges.
Plains Township firefighters discovered human remains in a shed at Lot 232 in the East Mountain Mobile Home Park on Jumper Road on Feb. 24. The rear of Lot 232 connects to the rear of Lot 213, where D’Onofrio resided.
Examination by a forensic anthropologist revealed the bones were those of a small-framed male, which were found with a toddler-size diaper, sweatpants and a stained shirt. The remains have not been positively identified and no charges have been filed in connection with the discovery.
Prosecutors and state police said Friday the investigation is “aggressively” ongoing. No charges have been filed.
Search warrant affidavits connected to the case allege D’Onofrio had a son in his 20s with cerebral palsy, who lived with her in the trailer park but had not been seen by neighbors in the recent past.
When asked about the shed fire, D’Onofrio stated, “I did not do that,” adding that a man had set the blaze.
D’Onofrio was at the courthouse for a preliminary hearing on charges of theft and forgery, alleging she swindled nearly $3,000 from a man she was entrusted to house sit at his trailer. State police filed the theft related charges April 4.
Investigators allege Ronald Heck, of Lot 213, claimed he allowed D’Onofrio access to his trailer to care for his cats while he was hospitalized in August of 2014.
When Heck returned to his trailer, he claimed a credit union statement showed six personal checks totaling $2,980 had been written out to D’Onofrio’s mother, Mary Mikulak, and deposited into a Wells Fargo account owned by Mikulak and D’Onofrio.
Mikulak would have been 96 when the checks were written out to her. She has not been located.
When D’Onofrio appeared before Dixon, she was represented by Attorney Allyson Kacmarski, who was appointed by the court to defend her.
D’Onofrio told Dixon her step-mother hired a private attorney, who was not at the proceeding. When Dixon quizzed her, D’Onofrio provided the attorney’s name.
Court staff contacted the attorney and learned D’Onofrio or her family had not retained him.
“I reached out to the attorney and he has no recollection of your case,” Dixon advised D’Onofrio. “He has no idea who you are.”
Dixon gave D’Onofrio until June 1 to clear up her attorney issues.
D’Onofrio remains jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $300,000 bail.