The story of Kathy Heckel and Loyd Groves

Kathy Heckel

By LAURA JAMESON

ljameson@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — It’s been five months since the Loyd Groves murder trial ended.

Five months since Groves was convicted of third degree murder in the death of Kathy Heckel, who left for lunch on July 15, 1991 and was never seen or heard from again.

Now the story of Heckel’s disappearance and Groves’ conviction almost 30 years later will be told to thousands of viewers nationwide.

Loyd Groves

“Dateline” a staple of the NBC network, will air a one-hour episode about the case on Friday, April 26 at 10 p.m.

The television show has been airing cold cases come-back-to-life, such as the Groves case, since 1992 and providing an extensive archive of in-depth news stories and investigative journalism. Its shows are seen regularly on NBC.

Dateline’s Tim Beacham sat through the two-week trial and was there when Groves was found guilty by a jury.

The prosecution charged that Groves killed Heckel because the two had been having an affair and she wanted to break it off, and Groves then disposed of her body where it would never be found.

The week following the conviction, NBC network correspondent Josh Mankiewicz and Beacham were in town gathering footage and interviewing law enforcement, attorneys and the media who were involved in the case.

Although a suspect since 1991, Groves wasn’t arrested and charged with Heckel’s murder until Jan. 28, 2015, after DNA evidence concluded blood found in Groves’ van belonged to Heckel.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, Beacham was also in the courtroom when Groves was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison by Lycoming County Judge Kenneth Brown, after hearing impact statements from Heckel’s family about the loss of their daughter, mother, wife and friend.

Groves, during his sentencing, denied the accusations, saying he had “committed no crime.”

His attorneys have filed an appeal of the murder conviction.

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