Police investigate possible murder scene in Bristol, Tenn.

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   BRISTOL, Tenn. - Police are investigating the Bristol Tennessee State Welcome Center as a possible crime scene for the murder of a Pennsylvania man, according to Bristol Police Department officials and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
   According to information from The Sentinel newspaper located in Carlise, Pa., the body of Charles Richardson, 43, of Meshoppen, Pa., was found in the Susquehanna River, just outside of Dauphin, Pa., in the afternoon hours of April 25. Dauphin is a small town located about 10 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Pa. The body was found partially submerged about one quarter of a mile off of the eastern shore of the river by a fisherman.
   Through an investigation, Pennsylvania State Police officers arrested Charles Shifflet, 50, of Lebanon, Pa., and charged him with homicide, arson, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. According to reports from The Sentinel, Shifflet was arrested the day after Richardson's body was discovered.
   Shifflet and Richardson had been traveling together and passed through Bristol, possibly stopping at the Bristol Tennessee Welcome Center on Interstate 81 sometime between April 21 and April 23, according to information released by the Bristol Tennessee Police Department. The two were traveling together in a motor home and a Plymouth Voyager.
   According to Trooper Cristal Turner-Childs with the Pennsylvania State Police, the girlfriend of Richardson, whose name was not released, spoke with investigators and told them that Richardson and Shifflet had been traveling together.
   Sgt. Charles Thomas with the Bristol Tennessee Police Department stated that Shifflet had also given statements to investigators leading them to Bristol for their investigation.
   Turner-Childs said that investigators are following leads in an attempt to locate where the crime may have occurred. "Right now we're just trying to follow every lead there is to follow and be thorough in the investigation," she said.
   So far, investigators have been able to determine that Richardson died of blunt trauma to the head which caused a "traumatic brain injury" according to Turner-Childs. The Sentinel reported that the body of Richardson had a "severe lasceration" on the right side of his head and "extensive injuries" on the left side of the head, according to court documents.
   Investigators have also been able to narrow down a time frame for when the murder occurred. "The time frame we are working off of is the last contact he (Richardson) had with his girlfriend was on April 21, so somewhere between April 21 and April 25 (when the body was found)," Turner-Childs said. The Sentinel reported that police officers in Pennsylvania believe that Shifflet killed Richardson around 2 a.m. on April 22 at the Bristol Tennessee State Welcome Center off of I-81.
   Shifflet is currently being held in the Dauphin County Prison without bail, The Sentinel reported.
   Anyone who has any information relating to the investigation, or anyone who may have seen the vehicles of these two individuals at the rest area is asked to call Thomas at 989-5541 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 434-6424.