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Pa. Man Allegedly Admitted to Repeatedly Shooting His Sister in the Head, Trying to Clean Up the Crime Scene


Joel Ayala Jr. appears in a mugshot

A Pennsylvania man has been charged with allegedly killing his sister, who was found dead late last week.

Joel Ayala Jr., 20, stands accused of one count of criminal homicide for allegedly shooting and killing his sister, 22-year-old Linnette Ayala, during the late evening hours of Thursday, March 10, 2022. He allegedly admitted to the crime during the early morning hours of Friday, March 11, 2022.

An initial police report stated that the victim “appeared to have sustained traumatic injury from an apparent assault.”

Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said the deceased woman was repeatedly shot in the head. The exact number of times she was shot, however, was not revealed by the coroner due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, according to Lancaster Online.

East Hempfield Township Police Department officers say they responded to a reported cardiac arrest at Ayala’s home around 11:22 p.m. on the night in question, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The 911 call was made by the victim’s father, who reportedly told Lancaster County Wide Communication dispatch that he found his daughter deceased in their garage.

Officers say they arrived to find Ayala dead. Various local media outlets have described her as being “partially wrapped” in “bedding.”

Police say the bullet wounds caused her to go into cardiac arrest and that she stopped breathing soon thereafter. The defendant was not home at the time police arrived, as he had previously left to go somewhere with his mother, according to law enforcement.

Ayala’s father allegedly told authorities he found several cleaning implements–including bleach, other cleaning products, and a bucket–near the scene of his daughter’s murder. Additionally, blood was found on the sheets in the woman’s bedroom, police said.

The EHTPD says the defendant admitted to killing his sister and then trying to clean up the evidence during an interview on Friday morning, according to court records obtained by local NBC affiliate WGAL.

“Yes,” he allegedly said when investigators asked if he was responsible for his sister’s murder.

A GoFundMe for Linnette Ayala, who is also referred to as “Tuty” by the organizer, has raised nearly $12,000 as of this writing.

“Anything will help, all profits go towards funeral expenses etc,” Elba Irizarry wrote in the fundraiser’s sparse description. “Thank you.”

According to, police have interviewed several witnesses in the case so far. The investigation is said to be ongoing.

Additionally, police said, they found “blood splatter in multiple locations throughout the house,” Lancaster Online reports. The typical appellation for such a crime scene designation is “blood spatter.”

Authorities have not publicly floated a motive for the slaying.

The defendant was silently taken into and out of a building by police wearing what appeared to be a blue hospital-like gown in front of local reporters on Friday morning, according to video captured by WGAL.

Joel Ayala Jr. is currently being detained in the Lancaster County Prison without bail.

He is currently slated to attend a preliminary hearing on March 25, 2022, a little more than a week from today.

[image via Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office]

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