EASTON, Pa. — An eastern Pennsylvania man was charged Wednesday with fatally shooting his stepdaughter and burying the 33-year-old woman in his yard.
Gregory Graf was arrested after police found Jessica Padgett’s body on his property in Northampton County. Padgett, a mother and day care worker, had been missing since Friday.
The motive for the slaying appears to be sexual assault, District Attorney John Morganelli said. He didn’t elaborate.
Police began focusing on the 53-year-old Graf after he gave inconsistent statements following Padgett’s disappearance, he said. Graf later gave a statement admitting he fatally shot her, Morganelli said.
Padgett’s body was found buried behind a shed on the property where Graf lives with Padgett’s mother. The couple operates a fence company at the site.
The mother was away in Florida last week.
That “gave him an opportunity to commit the crime … in secret,” Morganelli said.
Graf was described as an avid hunter with several firearms in the house.
“We are devastated by the loss of Jessica,” the victim’s family said in a statement. “She was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends. The world shines less bright today.”
Graf is being held without bail. It was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer.