MIFFLINTOWN - A Philadelphia woman facing charges in Juniata County hid in a coffin at a Mifflintown funeral home to avoid apprehension after escaping police custody May 13, according to documents filed Monday at Magisterial District Judge Barb Lyter's office.
Court documents state Nicole April Kelly, 19, of Philadelphia, was being transported by the Juniata County Sheriff's Department from Lyter's office, where she was arraigned on two outstanding warrants from Delaware County, back to the Mifflin County Correctional Facility until she could be extradited to Delaware County. Authorities said the warrants were discovered when Kelly appeared in court in Juniata County that day on separate charges.
As Kelly was being brought to the correctional facility she told authorities that she "just couldn't do this," at which point she pulled free and fled while still in handcuffs, according to documents. Authorities chased Kelly but lost sight of her as she fled toward the Brown Funeral Home in Mifflintown.
Documents state Police used several dogs and a helicopter in their search for Kelly, which lasted for several hours, until she was found hiding inside a coffin at Brown Funeral Home by the business's owner Dan Brown.
Brown returned to his business at approximately 9 p.m. and noticed a phone line was in use when no one was supposed to be at the business, authorities said. When Brown picked up the phone Kelly was on the line, but said that she had the wrong number, documents state. When Brown hung up the line was still busy, at which point he advised his wife to contact police while he went to the funeral home's showroom, where he turned on the lights and saw Kelly run to hide, according to documents.
Authorities said Brown was able to prevent Kelly from fleeing the business by grabbing her wrist and arm and keeping her on the ground, where she then tried to bite him. Kent Smith from Mifflin Borough Police arrived at the scene and took Kelly into custody, according to documents. Kelly was lodged at Juniata County Jail before being transported to Mifflin County Correctional Facility.
Kelly now faces additional charges of escape, flight to avoid apprehension, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and simple assault.
Additionally, Brown Funeral Home is seeking restitution in the amount of $365 for the damage Kelly caused when she kicked out the rear of the coffin she was hiding in with her feet, according to documents.