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UPDATE: Police searching for man suspected of killing girlfriend

A woman was stabbed and killed at a Johnstown car wash Tuesday morning. Now police are on the hunt for her alleged killer.

It happened just before 5 a.m. at the Dollar Car Wash along Bridge Street in Moxham. Police said it was the victim's estranged boyfriend who stabbed her with a knife and took off.

Charges of criminal homicide are pending against that suspect -- a man police say they're familiar with because they've had dealings with him in the past. But nothing like this. It's a tragic murder that police believe stemmed from domestic abuse.

"Our victim was taken from the car wash by ambulance to Conemaugh Hospital," said Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski. "She was treated shortly in the emergency room and passed away in the operating room at approximately 5:05 this morning."

The victim has been identified as Elizabeth Miller, 21, of Tire Hill. Police said she was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Demetrius Gibson of Johnstown.

"It sounds as if there was a domestic dispute that occurred earlier in the day and they responded back to that location to meet up and apparently talked something out," said Johnstown Police Capt. Andrew Frear. "While that occurred it led to another domestic dispute and the stabbing happened at that time."

Police said they have witnesses, namely victim's brother, who was with her and even tried pulling her out of the vehicle before she was stabbed. Afterward, police said Gibson took Miller's Blazer and drove off. It was found a short time later at the top of Forest Avenue in Dave Seganos' yard.

"We just thought somebody got stuck, so we turned in to police and it turned out to be a pretty big deal," said Seganos. "Police cars were here. They had a K-9 unit and an officer was armed with an M-16."

But Gibson was nowhere to be found and police say he's still on the run.

"We have people out looking for him right now and hopefully we'll be able to take him into custody," said Frear.

Police don't believe the crime had anything to do with drugs.

But it's the fifth homicide in the city since the year began. Police say it comes just four days after John Kuzma was beaten to death by his son in Moxham.

All of the other homicides were shootings. Leslie Schetrompf was shot and killed in the west end in July. Jamil Gray was killed along Union Street in June. Joshua Price was shot to death along Cypress Avenue in January.

The rise in this kind of crime led to a report that outlines specific ways to address the problem. On Tuesday, 6 News asked Johnstown's mayor about the progress. He said some is being made but said ultimately it's a challenge.

"I don't know what else you could say," said Mayor Thomas Trigona. "It's hard to be proactive preventing a murder between two people."

Trigona said the need for additional police officers is great. He said he hopes the city can make more hires soon, but offered no timetable for when that could happen.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times