It’s been the summer of the clown sighting, and now that fall has rolled around, Pennsylvania is facing an unthinkable clown stabbing. Was the Pennsylvania clown stabbing related to the mysterious clown sightings that have plagued the U.S. South and Midwest all summer? Was it an isolated incident? What happened in the Pennsylvania clown stabbing? More importantly, what is law enforcement doing to bring an unidentified, clown mask-clad suspect to justice after he fatally stabbed a teen?
Here’s what we know so far.
As the Reading Eagle reports, the tragic Pennsylvania clown stabbing took place on Sunday night, September 25. That’s when a teenager was stabbed to death during a dispute in Pennsylvania. Reportedly, the violent stabbing took place on Locust Street. That’s where an as-yet-unidentified assailant showed up wearing a Halloween clown mask and stabbed the teen.
The victim has since been identified as 16-year-old Christian Torres. The young man who lost his life in the Pennsylvania clown stabbing was reportedly a sophomore at local Reading High School.
The city’s district attorney is imploring anyone who witnessed the fatal Pennsylvania clown stabbing to contact the local police department so that the clown mask-wearing attacker can be brought to justice.
“Someone was wearing a clown mask and a fight broke out. Anyone who knows anything about this, please contact the Reading police.”
The Pennsylvania clown stabbing reportedly took place just before 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. When first responders were called to the scene of the stabbing, they found the Pennsylvania clown stabbing victim on the front porch of a home, surrounded by a large crowd of neighbors and onlookers. Unfortunately for victim Christian Torres, EMTs and police were unable to save his young life, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. A decisive autopsy was scheduled for the next day (Monday).
While it has been widely reported that the Pennsylvania clown victim died as a result of being stabbed, police have not released an official cause of death in the case. That information will be determined during Monday’s autopsy and released at the discretion of investigators.
It seems likely that the perpetrator of the Pennsylvania clown stabbing will be apprehended over the course of the investigation, as the neighborhood where the stabbing took place is reportedly quite close-knit. According to witnesses, the Pennsylvania clown stabbing was the result of an argument or some other dispute that somehow got violently “out of control.”
Following the fatal Pennsylvania clown stabbing, a memorial for the victim has been erected on the block and is reportedly growing with every passing hour, as neighbors and mourners alike deposit photos, candles, and even toys at the site.
“The saddest part of the whole thing is that the dispute got out of control. The neighbors see each other every day. They know each other so well.”
Despite the close-knit nature of the neighborhood where the Pennsylvania clown stabbing took place, so far nobody has been taken into custody.
While the Pennsylvania clown stabbing seems to be following a trend of widespread clown sightings over the summer of 2016, it seems unrelated to the larger trend that has taken the South and Midwest by storm for the last several weeks.
The summer clown sightings began in South Carolina at an apartment complex surrounded by a wooded area. Reportedly, in that instance, the clowns being sighted were trying to lure children into the forest with candy and money. Initially, the sightings were discounted by parents and law enforcement as the overactive imaginations of children, but eventually, parents and other adults began seeing the clowns, too. The situation at the Fleetwood Manor Apartments got so bad that the management sent out letters to residents, warning parents to keep an eye on their kids because clowns had been lurking in the surrounding woods.
Over the summer, the clown sightings spread to several states and multiple law enforcement agencies. Despite the widespread reports, police remained baffled. While cops continued to investigate, the clown sightings continued and witnesses became increasingly credible.
Parents became increasingly concerned that their children were going to disappear into the woods with an unidentified clown, never to be seen or heard from again.
In addition to becoming more widespread, the clown sightings became increasingly violent in disturbing. Just a few weeks ago, a student in Ohio reported being chased by a clown with a knife at a school bus stop.
Finally, last week in Kentucky, the first clown sighting arrest was made. In that instance, 20-year-old Jonathan Martin was taken into custody after he was caught lurking in the woods dressed as a clown. While dressing as a clown may not appear to be a crime, many states in the South and Midwest made it clear to their residents that the behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in the wake of a summer of disturbing clown sightings.
The stabbing in Pennsylvania is the first of the year (which has now transitioned from summer to fall) where a person has been injured, let alone killed, by a clown.
***Update: An arrest has been made in the case of the Pennsylvania clown stabbing. As PennLive reports, 29-year-old Avery Valentin-Bair has been arrested in connection with the horrific, unfathomable crime. Reportedly, he turned himself in to Pennsylvania police.
According to investigators, the mask involved in the slaying of 16-year-old Christian Torres was one similar to the masks featured in The Purge films, not a clown mask. It is now being reported that the victim and his alleged killer were arguing over the mask at the time of the fatal slaying, and that Torres himself may have had possession of or been wearing the disturbing disguise when he was allegedly stabbed last Sunday by Avery Valentin-Bair.
At this point, the suspect in the Pennsylvania clown stabbing (now known to be not a clown-related crime at all, contrary to the initial information released in the case) is being held on a multitude of charges, including first-degree murder.***
[Featured Image by Ryan Jorgensen – Jorgo/Shutterstock]