Obsession In The Poconos

Hadley Bilger, 13, of Pocono Lake, Pa. is shown in this undated file photo released Sunday April 20, 2003 by the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department.
A man accused of kidnapping his 13-year-old niece after killing her parents may have been obsessed with the girl, authorities said.

Robert Lee Hixson, 42, was captured Sunday after a chase and four-hour standoff with police. He is charged with killing his wife's brother and the brother's wife at their Pocono Mountains home and then abducting their daughter Hadley.

"There is some evidence of an obsession of a sexual nature with the 13-year-old," Monroe County District Attorney Mark P. Pazuhanich said.

Hixson was arraigned on two counts of criminal homicide. He sat shaking in the chair during the brief hearing, quietly answering questions from a judge. He was sent him to the Monroe County Correctional Facility without bail.

Pazuhanich said sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary charges would also be filed, the Pocono Record reported. Pazuhanich told the paper he would likely seek the death penalty against Hixson.

Myron L. "Butch" Bilger, 40, identified Hixson as the shooter before he died, said Pocono Mountain Regional Police Detective Harry Lewis. Hixson shot Bilger and his wife, Ellen Bilger, at their Pocono Lake home Saturday, authorities said. Their 5-year-old daughter ran next door to get help while Hixson drove off with the 13-year-old, police said.

Police issued a statewide Amber Alert for Hadley. The alert led to a tip that Hixson's red pickup truck was spotted in Berks County, about 90 miles southwest of the girl's home in Pocono Lakes, police said.

Police used tire-flattening devices to disable the vehicle after a high-speed chase. Hixson pulled into a parking lot where he released Hadley but held police at bay and pointed his gun at himself.

A police negotiator helped end the standoff. State troopers said Hixson never pointed his gun at them, and that if he had he likely would have been shot.

Donna Faye Bilger, Myron Bilger's mother and Hixson's mother-in-law, said Hixson is unemployed and has been married to her daughter for about eight years.

She said her son had caught Hixson driving with Hadley about two weeks ago. "Butch yanked her out of the truck," she said. Police said they were not aware of the allegation and no charges had been filed.

On Saturday, Hixson dropped his wife off at his mother-in-law's home a few hours before the shootings.

Police who later came to her house found that two of her husband's weapons, including a shotgun, were missing from a locked cabinet, Donna Faye Bilger said. She did not know when they were taken.

Both victims died from shotgun blasts to the abdomen, police said.

According to court records, in 1979 Hixson abused his 4-month-old daughter from a prior relationship in California, breaking her skull, ribs and leg, the Pocono Record reported.

In 1993 in Pennsylvania, he attacked a female friend with a claw hammer, repeatedly hitting her in the head. He was sentenced in 1995 to two to four years for aggravated assault, said former prosecutor William Kreisher.

"I thought the court had been more lenient than it should have been. But he did parade into the courtroom his new fiancee, and his fiancee's family. He had found religion," Kreisher said.

By Patrick Walters