By Ted Waddell
ABRAHAMSVILLE, PA September 3, 2002 As word of the death last week of Marilyn Lyn Phillips, popular co-owner of the Callicoon Saloon & Beanery, swirled across the Delaware River valley and beyond, a spate of rumors seemed to outpace the complex investigation being undertaken by Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities: it was a possible drug hit; she was murdered for Saturdays cash receipts from the bar; her beloved husband and co-owner Randy was involved; he wasnt; the body of a 55-year-old man was found in the woods the following day; it wasnt; and so on.
Early in the week, Wayne County Coroner Edward Murray confirmed that Phillips body was located along Cooley Road on Sunday, August 25. Her body was reportedly recovered from rocks at the base of the culvert, approximately 10 feet from the edge of the gravel roadway, located in Manchester Township, Pa.
The Phillipses reside on Rapp Rd., about 2 miles from the scene where the body of Lyn was found.
According to an article published in the Monday, August 26 edition of the Scranton Times, during extensive questioning by the Pa. State Police, Randy Phillips told authorities that he was driving an employee home to a residence in Hankins at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Phillips reportedly told police his wife remained in the back seat after he dropped off the employee. After crossing Kellams Bridge and returning home, he reportedly told authorities he noticed Marilyn was missing, called friends and subsequently initiated a search.
Randy Phillips was released Monday morning after several hours of questioning. As of Friday morning, no charges had been filed.
And the local community remained in a state of shock at what could have befallen a couple described as extremely devoted to each other.
In a phone interview late Thursday afternoon, Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer tried to set the record straight, while at the same time emphasizing the case is under investigation.
Were investigating, and when we find out what the truth is, well take appropriate action, he said from his private law practice in Honesdale, Pa.
Zimmer is in his 11th year as Wayne County DA. He previously served the county for nine years as assistant district attorney.
According to Zimmer, the body of Marilyn Phillips was located early Sunday afternoon, and Randy Phillips has given inconsistent and less than credible statements to authorities on different occasions.
Zimmer said the cause of the death of Marilyn Phillips has been ruled blunt force trauma to the head . . . [while] the manner of death is still being investigated.
Dr. Gary Ross, a forensic pathologist, performed the autopsy at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale on Monday afternoon. Final results of the post-mortem examination have not been released.
According to Zimmer, his office is awaiting the results of several forensic tests (including toxicology and tissue samples), one of which can take two weeks to complete.
Responding to reports that Randy and Lyns Callicoon Saloon & Beanery was searched by authorities early Tuesday morning, Zimmer confirmed that a nighttime search warrant had been executed at the place of business by Pa. State Police with the assistance of New York State authorities.
Earlier in the week, Zimmer said a previous search warrant had been executed at the Phillipses residence on Rapp Rd. shortly after her body was recovered.
Zimmer declined to comment at the time as to whether alcohol or controlled substances were involved in the incident.
Asked about the rumor mill spewing out reams of information regarding the death of Marilyn Phillips, Zimmer replied, Whenever theres a case like this, there are rumors everywhere. The more bizarre the case, the more bizarre the rumors.
There are too many conflicting stories out there, too many things that dont add up yet . . . far too many scenarios, said the Wayne County DA in declining to provide further details of the ongoing criminal investigation.
According to authorities, the investigation is continuing, and anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police at 570-253-7126.