Father of 4 Killed Before Custody Hearing

Mark Werkheiser was in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife over their four children

By Karen Araiza
|  Friday, Mar 16, 2012  |  Updated 4:50 PM EDT
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Mark W. Werkheiser was found shot to death inside his Williams Township home Thursday morning, said police. Werkheiser was supposed to appear in court Thursday for a hearing on a bitter custody battle with the mother of his four children, Elizabeth Collazo. Authorities say Collazo is a person of interest in this case. NBC10's Terry Ruggles reports the investigation.

NBC10 Philadelphia - Terry Ruggles

Mark W. Werkheiser was found shot to death inside his Williams Township home Thursday morning, said police. Werkheiser was supposed to appear in court Thursday for a hearing on a bitter custody battle with the mother of his four children, Elizabeth Collazo. Authorities say Collazo is a person of interest in this case. NBC10's Terry Ruggles reports the investigation.

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Mark W. Werkheiser was in a bitter custody battle with the mother of his children, Elizabeth Collazo.

The two were supposed to be in court on Thursday for their latest hearing. Werkheiser was shot to death that morning. Collazo never showed up in court, according to The Morning Call.

Werkheiser, 38, was shot multiple times. He was found dead inside his Williams Township home.

"It's not a random act, and there should be no concern on the part of the neighbors," Terence Houck told the paper. He's the lead prosecutor on the case. District Attorney John Morganelli said Collazo is a person of interest in their investigation.

Werkheiser and Collazo had four children together. Two girls, 16, who are twins and two boys, ages 13 and 10, according to court records. After Werkheiser was killed, a Northampton County judge granted his sister custody of the children.

Werkheiser's attorney, Richard Shiroff, characterized him as a very concerned father. "I'm not sure what happened, but he seemed to be a non-confrontational type of person," Shiroff said.

A woman who lives by Collazo told The Express Times that Collazo is known as a hard worker and frequently worked two jobs.

"I'm 53, and in my whole life, I've never met a kinder person," the neighbor told the paper. "That is God's truth."


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