Gaines scene

This was the scene in Gaines Township July 27 after an incident involving a fugitive and the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force.

The fugitive shot and killed by a U.S. Marshal’s officer in Gaines Township Tuesday, July 27, has been identified as Robert P. Uhler, 56, of Lebanon County.

Tioga County Coroner James Daughtery confirmed to this newspaper Wednesday morning that Uhler was the deceased. Daughtery said Uhler died of “more than one” gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen and that the autopsy was being completed Wednesday in Allentown.

Daughtery also said officials were having trouble notifying Uhler’s next of kin, a sister in Rochester, N.Y. He said when that’s been done, the name should be confirmed and released by state police.

State police at Mansfield hadn’t released any details as of press time Wednesday.

Uhler reportedly went missing just before he was to stand trial on rape charges in Lebanon County. According to a story from Penn Live, Uhler was reportedly declared missing on Sept. 11, 2020, after his car was found in a creek in North Annville Township. A search of the creek assisted by aviation and canine units turned up nothing.

Uhler then didn’t show for his trial on Sept. 24, 2020, when a jury found him guilty of four counts of rape of a child, five counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child and five counts of indecent assault. According to a press release from the Lebanon District Attorney’s Office after the trial, the charges stem from an investigation by the Lebanon County Detective Bureau in October 2019. Uhler was convicted of sexually assaulting a child, beginning when she was 6 and ending at age 11, while living in Jackson Township, Lebanon County.

After the trial, a bench warrant was issued for Uhler’s arrest and officials sought the public’s help to locate him. If found, Uhler was facing a minimum sentence of six years to 20 years on each count of rape.

A release from the U.S. Marshal Martin J. Pane on Tuesday detailed that his office’s task force was involved in a shooting resulting in the death of a fugitive in the Westfield area. Scanner reports indicated the location was off Shinn Hollow Road, Gaines Township (mailing address Westfield).

The release said, “Preliminary information is the fugitive pulled a weapon on the task force officers and in response a task force officer fired at and struck the fugitive. Task force officers immediately rendered aid to the fugitive; however, local EMS declared the fugitive deceased at the scene.”

In the release, Pane said his office took over the case from the Lebanon County Sherriff’s Office in October 2020, and their investigation led them to Tioga County on Tuesday. It’s not clear where Uhler had been staying or how long he was in the area before his death.

“While the Marshals Service mission is to seek the country’s most wanted, we must never forget that the seeking of fugitives wanted on serious crimes, as in this case, is dangerous work,” said Pane in the release. “I commend those who take the oath to ensure we have a safer community.”

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