Johnstown woman confesses to murder victim; 8 people are charged

Nov. 19—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A Johnstown woman has allegedly admitted to stabbing 19-year-old Hayden Robert Garreffa, according to a state police affidavit.

Taylyn Nashell Edwards, 18, of Gray Street, Johnstown, is one of eight people accused of abducting Garreffa from his grandmother’s home in Buffington Township, Indiana County, on October 20. According to authorities, Garreffa’s body was found two days later.

In an amended criminal complaint, police state that Edwards “confessed several times to stabbing[Garreffa]with a live weapon.”

Homicide investigators said Garreffa was beaten, kicked and died of multiple stab wounds to his torso, neck and head. His body was found in tall grass near Oneida Mine Road in Brush Valley Township, Indiana County, about two miles from his grandmother’s home.

Indiana County District Attorney Robert Manzi Jr. said the investigation is ongoing and “many more” interviews are planned. Authorities have received search warrants in Indiana, Cambria and Allegheny counties to search homes, vehicles, lakes and fields, Manzi said. He would not say if police recovered the weapon used.

Garreffa had attended school in Butler County before transferring to Forest Hills School District in Cambria County as a senior. He studied off campus while living in Lilly Borough and graduated from Forest Hills High School in 2021.

Homicide detectives are still looking for a motive for the murder. They believe Garreffa was “forced” to leave his grandmother’s apartment.

Police said Garreffa’s cousin, Isaac Buchkoski, played a role in the October 20 events.

Court documents say that on the day of his disappearance, Garreffa had a verbal argument with Buchkoski, who resided at the 200 block of Cooper Avenue in Johnstown. Criminal investigators believe Buchkoski was “malicious” towards Garreffa, which stems from a previous incident involving Buchkoski’s girlfriend.

Witnesses allegedly told investigators that Buchkoski’s girlfriend, Summer Settlemyer, 18, also of the 200 block of Cooper Avenue, and a third person initiated a plan to “kidnap and assault” Garreffa.

Buchkoski reportedly said, “He will be dead before the end of the day,” according to a court affidavit.

Authorities called it a “personal complaint.”

Authorities have recovered a red 2001 Dodge Caravan believed to have been used in the hijacking.

Seven adults and a 14-year-old were arrested. The adults are Edwards; Buchkoski; settlers; Desean Garcia Alvarez, 21, of Hammond, Indiana; Mia Shai Catalfano, 18, from Johnstown; Thomas Alan Rivera, 20, of Johnstown; and Jesse Lee Wadsworth, 18, of Johnstown.

Indiana state police have charged the seven adults with kidnapping, murder and aggravated assault.

The seven suspects will appear on Jan. 13 before Homer City District Judge Susanne Steffee in the Indiana County Courthouse. They are being held without bond in the Indiana County Jail.

The 14-year-old girl from Johnstown is in juvenile detention.