Derry Township arson/homicide suspect turns himself in

DAUPHIN COUNTY -- UPDATE (7/17): Police say Calvin Lorenzo Purdie is now in custody after turning himself in this morning to the U.S. Marshal's Office and Derry Township Police.


Derry Township Police are searching for a man charged in the death of a 49-year-old woman in May.

Calvin Lorenzo Purdie Jr., 33, is charged with homicide and arson in relation to the death of Charlotte Chaplin, 49. Police say he killed Chaplin by strangling her, then set fire to the bedroom of the home on the 500 block of West Chocolate Avenue in an attempt to destroy or conceal evidence.

Derry Township Police Chief Garth Warner said Purdie dated Chaplin's daughter, but would not say if the relationship played a role in the case.

"We e do have some motives, I guess you could say in theory of, but at this time none we could reveal to the public," Warner said.

The block where the incident happened is filled with mostly business, with several homes and apartments scattered throughout. One neighbor FOX43 spoke to said most people keep to themselves.

"All I heard was there was a fire," Maurice Jamison, a neighbor, said. "I didn't really know it was even that deep so it's kinda messed up...hearing something like that it's kinda sad. I feel bad for the family that was involved."

Investigators on the scene of the May 23 fire noticed Purdie had visible scratch marks on his face and arms, consistent with having been involved in a recent violent struggle, police say.

"We've put a lot of man hours in it and have gone over a lot of evidence so the investigators are very confident they have the right person," Warner said.

As detectives continued their investigation into the arson and homicide of Chaplin, evidence implicated Purdie as the person responsible, according to police.

"We e need to bring some closure for the family," Warner said. "They now know who are suspect is in this homicide and they want some justice for Charlotte. So bringing Calvin and having him answer these charges is very important to the family to try and get them some closure."

When Purdie found this out, he turned off his cell phone and has absconded, eluding investigators and authorities. Derry Township Police say they have obtained an arrest warrant for Purdie and are actively looking for him with the assistance of local, state and federal agencies.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact Derry Township Police at (717) 534-2202.

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