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Thursday, August 17, 2000

[PA] Suicide of Chief Holcomb

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
August 21, 1998
The police chief of Dale, Cambria County, and his wife no longer face domestic violence charges because they refused to testify against each other. District Justice Leonard Grecek dismissed the case Wednesday after Terry Holcomb , 27, and his wife, Maria, 36, said they would not testify against each other and after prosecutors were unable to present evidence showing their actions were criminal. The Holcombs were each charged with simple assault and domestic violence after a fight in their home Aug. 9. Police said Terry Holcomb grabbed his wife's hair and pulled her onto a bed and that Maria Holcomb grabbed her husband's hair and punched him in the mouth. "I'm not a rogue cop. I come out and do my job to the best of my ability," Holcomb said after the hearing Wednesday. He said they were seeking marital counseling. "It's a shame," his wife said. "Just because my husband holds an office, we can't have an argument without it going public."

East Neighborhoods
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) - January 26, 2000
A suburban Johnstown police chief was charged yesterday with padding his time slips with overtime he never worked, allowing him to pocket $7,616 from the tiny borough he works for. The Cambria County district attorney's office charged Dale Chief Terry Holcomb with theft by deception and records tampering for cheating the borough of 1,500 people on the fringe of Johnstown. An arrest affidavit says Holcomb turned in time slips stating he worked 539 extra hours last year for the Cambria County Drug Task Force, a consortium of county law enforcement agencies. After a police officer questioned Holcomb's accounting two weeks ago, a county detective checked pay records and found Holcomb worked no hours for the task force...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Tom Gibb
August 17, 2000
By most accounts, Terry Holcomb was basically a good cop, a guy made for small towns. He was a stop-and-chat type. He thrived on running child safety programs and bike jamborees. A regular Joe, outfitted in a police uniform. "Being a policeman -- that was his whole life, that and his kids," wife Maria Holcomb said yesterday. Then Terry Holcomb stepped over the line. Last year, he padded pay sheets he submitted to a regional anti-drug force. It cost him his $19,000-a-year job as police chief in Dale, an island of a borough surrounded by Johnstown. Today, he was to go before a Cambria County judge and admit to the charges -- a confession that, after a dozen years as a police officer, would keep him from policing again. Instead, in the predawn yesterday, Holcomb -- 31, married, the father of two elementary school-age children -- killed himself with a single bullet, fired when he was alone upstairs in his Dale home. Moments before, his wife of four years had hurried downstairs to phone police , investigators said. Maria Holcomb said yesterday that her husband hadn't attacked her but that he had grown upset -- she won't say about what -- and that she phoned for local police , hoping that friends on the local force might calm him. But likely, there was a connection between today's guilty plea and the suicide, Maria Holcomb said... he left no note and made no threat, his wife said; the police officer gave investigators a case they're unlikely to solve... Holcomb began his police career 14 miles across Cambria County, in his native Nanty Glo and nearby Vintondale. It was in Dale where he became a fixture, though, joining the police force 10 years ago and later becoming chief...


  1. Do not believe all that is written, if you know the entire story, then the BULL CRAP here about any criminal charges you would understand. His job as an Police Officer was his lifes work. He always had looked out for anyone who was in need of help. A Greater Man you could not find!
    Posted by his only sibling, Mike

  2. If the news articles got all the correct information and from more than one view point, then maybe the readers of this article might have a better understanding of the MAN and his love of mankind. He was than my Brother, he was a brother to who ever needed help.
    His only sibling, Mike.

  3. The media and others do not know the whole truth about this young man. Too often when a person is in the public eye the whole truth is not known. He was a man who made a difference to all who knew him. Ask his neighbors and ask his children and ask those who knew him they all will say he loved his community. The people were important to him and he not only protected them he served them by being there when no one else was. Look at the man and not the last deed. There had to be a reason if he was guilty of anything. He made a difference in many many lives including mine.

  4. Mike I'm so sorry about your brother and losing him that way.

    I did not make any commentary here against him. The purpose of this blog is to understand and facilitate positive change. MANY officers under investigation commit suicide. Honestly the question arises about character and domestic violence, the way departments and courts treat it like a personal matter when it involves an officer, how often the alleged victim recants for a variety of reasons - and what happens after that. There is no personal attack here by this blogger (me). Just a series of events. Anyone is free to say anything kind or nice about him that wishes to do so.

    Right now I'm blocking a mean comment about him because he's already dead so there is no reason to let unkind posts through to his family and friends who care about him and love him. It is done.

    1. It's been awhile since I've been on. Thank you for your reply. If the allegations are true about padding his time sheet bs what I know, the reasons would be that municipal police make near to nothing and often work others jobs to make ends meet. Being on the thin blue line a cop never knows if their shift allows them to punch out or become eternally known as the cop that got killed. The pressures put on law enforcement are very high. Often having residual stress off duty. When the family unit becomes weakened often more stress builds. I would love to see physiological evaluations done annually and all police made fulltime with appropriate wages and benefits. Knowing what is taking place in today's world a cop has to watch his back more than ever. Thank you for bringing this to light for others to understand but the whole truth is not spelled put in this article.
      Mike Holcomb.
      Ps; miss u bro.


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