Midstate Mystery: The murder of Richard McQuown


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Christine Phillips has spent three years trying to make sense of her brother’s horrific death.

“I’m having a hard time remembering what his voice sounded like,” she said.

She’s been living in fear that the killer would strike again.

“I do think this person is capable of hurting other people if they haven’t already,” Phillips said.

It’s a question police can’t answer.

It was Halloween 2014. Richard McQuown, a state worker with PennDOT, went downtown with friends to celebrate. It was his favorite holiday.

The next morning, he was found, still in costume, clinging to life under the Walnut Street walking bridge. He had been stabbed several times and was suffering from hypothermia.

Chuck Brown was with him that evening.

“He was in a happy mood and he had no enemies,” Brown said. “He was a very intelligent guy and he really never put himself in harm’s way. He was strong, too, very strong – one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.”

Police have been able to put together a timeline of McQuown’s final hours. He visited Shady McGrady’s on Verbeke Street, accidentally leaving his cell phone at the bar. From there, he walked down Third Street and lost his identification and credit card near the state Capitol. He was last seen at MoMo’s restaurant on Market Street.

Friends say his routine was to walk home to New Cumberland, over the Market Street bridge, but for whatever reason, he ended up alone, down by the river, under another bridge in the opposite direction.

“The big question that’s still unanswered is how he ended up down along the riverfront,” Detective Richard Iachini said.

Iachini says a homeless man who found McQuown’s credit card and used it at a local gas station was cleared of the killing. That, coupled with a lack of DNA evidence, has left him with no real theories.

“You can’t make sense of the why,” Iachini said. “We can’t even answer the question why and what led to this.”

Police say McQuown wasn’t into drugs and wasn’t part of a love triangle. And what’s more; Brown says his friend, an Air Force veteran, knew never to walk down by the river.

It still sticks with Brown that this crime happened less than a block from the Harrisburg police station.

“That’s a brazen person,” Brown said, “and they’re probably dangerous.”

On this painful anniversary, Phillips is pleading for answers, but she admits closure might be even harder to come by.

“It’s still never going to be complete closure because he was taken away from us for no good reason,” she said.

Anyone with information about the murder of Richard McQuown is asked to call Detective Richard Iachini at 717-255-3118. Tips can be made anonymously.

Brown is working to set up a scholarship fund in McQuown’s name at Shippensburg University, where they both earned their masters degrees. For more information about that, click here.

Click the below videos to hear more from McQuown’s sister.

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