Oil City resident says he decided it was time to tell
The Derrick, 3/16/02 By LISA THOMPSON

Special thanks to The Derrick for permitting this story to be posted


Photo by Jerry Sowden - Investigators take photos in Walker's garage.

Eldred "Ted" Walker says something's been weighing on him for a very long time. He's decided its time to tell.

A state police evidence collection team searched Walker's narrow hillside home on Laurel Avenue Thursday and Friday. Police said only that the search was done in connection with an unspecified investigation. However, sources confirmed it dealt with the investigation of Shauna Howe's 1992 abduction and murder, after Walker told police that James O'Brien came to his house the night of the abduction. O'Brien's mother told The Derrick that police told her recently that O'Brien's DNA has been matched to DNA found on Howe's body.

Walker was not home at the time of the search and could not be reached for comment Thursday. But in an interview about 2 a.m. Friday near his home, Walker explained the police presence at his residence.

Walker says police have talked to him about the Howe case before because his tall, lanky frame matched the description of the man who abducted Howe at the corner of West First and Reed streets. He has maintained throughout that he had nothing to do with the crime.

"I'm an innocent party," he said. "I'm a witness."

But he says he recently gave police new information because events -about which he remains vague - have brought it all back.

"Certain persons popped back in the picture, things started to make sense," he said. "It seemed out of context at the time."

"It is something that's been bothering me a long time when I saw a certain person it brought it all back," he said.

Walker declined to comment in detail about his statement to police.

He said only that years ago, he let what he calls some "very bad people, scum of the earth" stay in his home. And he says he now thinks they may have done something "disgusting."

Walker refused to speak in much detail. He said only that one night many years ago he came home to find other people coming and going from his home.

"People were rushing around, coming back and forth, I don't know who it was. Next thing I know I'm here," he said.

"It nagged me. I lost a lot of weight," he said.

When police recently asked to interview him again in the case, he agreed.

"I gave police all the facts I know. I hope it helps them out," he said.

"I told them point blank, come and look, I have nothing to hide," he said.

Walker said his main concern is getting life back to normal for his two children. He said he's trying to raise them and maintain a job that he loves.

He hinted that he remains concerned that some of those he took in may harm him.

"Well, somebody I helped out screwed me. They did something nasty, beyond words, making my life hell for my kids and me," he said. "All because I fit the description."

He also hinted that he is concerned that someone he took in used his car the night of the incident.

"I keep my keys on a peg board in the kitchen. My door is never locked," he said.

When asked if he thinks someone took the car, he said, "It's a possibility. I don't know."