WILKES-BARRE — A Plains Township woman who has been questioned after human remains were found in a burning shed has been denied bail on theft and forgery charges.
Linasheri D’Onofrio, 50, was arrested earlier this month on charges she stole checks while house-sitting for another man in 2014, allegedly writing nearly $3,000 worth to her mother, Mary Mikulak.
D’Onofrio is currently locked up in county prison for lack of $300,000 bail on two counts each of theft and forgery.
Her defense attorney, public defender Girard Joseph Mecadon, previously filed to have that bail lowered.
Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr., though, blocked the defense’s motion in a video hearing on Wednesday, leaving D’Onofrio’s bail as-is.
However, Sklarosky’s order comes without prejudice, which means D’Onofrio is free to file further requests for bail reduction.
The charges stem from an alleged theft that was reported to police in November 2014 in East Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park.
According to a criminal complaint, the woman, who lives in the trailer park, was asked to watch the home of Ronald Heck, another resident of the park.
Heck told police he asked D’Onofrio to take care of his cats while he was hospitalized in August of that year.
When he returned, Heck said his credit union statements showed $2,980 in personal checks had been written out to Mikulak. The funds were allegedly placed in a Wells Fargo account owned by Mikulak and D’Onofrio.
State police have doubts over whether Mikulak cashed the checks, noting that, “if still alive,” she’d have been 96 at the time.
D’Onofrio and Mikulak moved to the trailer park from New Jersey in 2007, with family members losing contact with Mikulak thereafter. Relatives hired a private investigator in 2011 to find her, with no success.
D’Onofrio originally made headlines in February of this year after human remains were found in a shed in a lot connected to the rear of the lot she lives on.
The remains were found by experts to have belonged to a small-framed male. The male was wearing a toddler-size diaper, sweatpants and a stained shirt.
D’Onofrio was questioned by police and, after initially identifying herself under a false name, investigators found she had a son in his 20s who had cerebral palsy. Neighbors said they hadn’t seen the man recently.
D’Onofrio originally identified the male as her brother, but often called him her son, authorities say. She told police the man currently lives in New Jersey with “their mother,” but wouldn’t say where, claiming they were in witness protection.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan