Plains remains identified as disabled man, 24; elderly relative still missing, presumed dead

By Ed Lewis and Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
A wheelchair is among the pile of debris outside 213 Pocono Trailer Court in Plains Township following a shed fire there in February at which the remains of a disabled young man were found. - Times Leader file
Mary Mikulak - Times Leader file
D’Onofrio - Times Leader file

PLAINS TWP. — State police at Wyoming announced Thursday that skeletal remains found after a shed fire in a trailer park have been identified as the disabled adult son of a woman being investigated in the case.

DNA analysis determined the remains belonged to Shain Cori-Jesi D’Onofrio, 24, state police said.

Shain’s mother, Linasheri D’Onofrio, 50, remains incarcerated in connection with a separate theft case. She has denied setting the blaze which led to the discovery of Shain’s remains three months ago.

No charges have been filed related to Shain’s death.

Investigators also are trying to determine what happened to Mary Rose Mikulak, an elderly relative who reportedly lived with the D’Onofrios and has not been seen in several years.

Mikulak, who has been described in search warrants as Linasheri D’Onofrio’s mother or grandmother, is presumed dead, investigators say.

Shain’s remains were found Feb. 24 by firefighters battling a shed blaze on Lot 232 in the East Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park on Jumper Road. The remains were found with a toddler-size diaper, sweatpants and a stained shirt.

Search warrant affidavits say Shain D’Onofrio had cerebral palsy and needed the assistance of a wheelchair and motorized scooters to get around.

Multiple unknowns

Tenants in the trailer park told state police investigators in February they had not seen Shain for some time prior to the discovery.

When questioned following the fire, Linasheri D’Onofrio allegedly told investigators the disabled male, whom she identified as David Genovese, was her brother, but she often called him her son. She claimed David was living with their mother in New Jersey but refused to say where, telling investigators they are in the witness protection program.

But Linasheri D’Onofrio’s ex-husband, Charles D’Onofrio, told investigators he helped her and Mikulak move from New Jersey to the trailer park in 2007.

Mikulak, who would be about 100 now, has not been seen by relatives in many years. Family members from New Jersey hired a private investigator in 2011 to find her, but with no success.

Investigators have not been able to locate death records for Mikulak or any human remains.

Investigators say Mikulak may have been introduced to neighbors as Mary Genovese or Mary D’Onofrio, while Linasheri D’Onofrio also used several names, including Layla McCool and Layla Genovese.

Theft case

Linasheri D’Onofrio allegedly was house sitting for trailer-park neighbor Ronald Heck while he was in a nursing home in 2014.

When Heck returned to his house trailer, he told investigators his credit union statement showed six personal checks totaling $2,980 had been written out to Mikulak and deposited into a Wells Fargo account owned by Mikulak and Linasheri D’Onofrio, according to court papers.

Investigators were not able to locate Mikulak at that time, noting she would have been about 96 years old.

Linasheri D’Onofrio was arrested April 4 of this year on charges of theft and forgery in connection with the alleged check thefts from Heck.

She is jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $300,000, and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in county central court on Friday.

Investigators are asking any previous tenants of the East Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park, formerly known as Pocono Trailer Park, who had contact with Mikulak and Linasheri D’Onofrio or knows her by the two other names to contact state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000 and reference the Mary Mikulak missing person case.

A wheelchair is among the pile of debris outside 213 Pocono Trailer Court in Plains Township following a shed fire there in February at which the remains of a disabled young man were found.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL030118shed.cmyk_-3.jpgA wheelchair is among the pile of debris outside 213 Pocono Trailer Court in Plains Township following a shed fire there in February at which the remains of a disabled young man were found. Times Leader file

Mary Mikulak
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Mary-Mikulak-1980s-3.jpgMary Mikulak Times Leader file

D’Onofrio
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Linasheri-Donofrio-04262018-6.jpgD’Onofrio Times Leader file

By Ed Lewis and Patrick Kernan

[email protected]