Woman held for trial in husband’s death, disappearance

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Virginia Hayden

DOVER, Pa. (WHTM) – A 67-year-old woman is headed to trial in the death and disappearance of her husband several years ago.

Virginia L. Hayden, formerly of Dover, was ordered held for trial following a preliminary hearing Wednesday. She is charged with criminal homicide and 64 additional counts regarding the concealment of her husband’s death while she collected nearly $117,000 in social security benefits.

Police believe Hayden killed her husband Thomas sometime between September 2011 and January 2012, when part of his scalp was found sealed in a plastic bag in the 4200 block of Conewago Road, in Dover Township.

Police interviewed Virginia Hayden when then remains were finally identified in 2017. She told troopers her husband left Pennsylvania in 2011 to seek medical treatment for ALS in Mexico and she hadn’t heard from him in six years.

A check of Thomas Hayden’s medical records revealed no diagnosis of ALS, police said, and investigators found his social security card, passport, driver’s license, and medical cards when they searched the couple’s former home. 

An ATF trace revealed Virginia Hayden bought a .357 handgun in October 2011. She told police she sold the gun through a dealer, but there was no record of the transfer, according to the criminal complaint.

During questioning about her husband’s whereabouts, police said Virginia Hayden told them “maybe you ought to check the grave of my second husband for him.” Thomas Hayden was Virginia Hayden’s third husband, the complaint states.

Investigators found no remains of Thomas Hayden at the grave or at the couple’s home. 

Family members recalled Virginia Hayden telling them that if a human body was fed to pigs, the pigs would eat everything but the skull, the complaint states.

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