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Schuylkill County News

Details Revealed in New Philadelphia Homicide Case

Full details on what police are revealing about their investigation.

New details emerged today in the double homicide case in New Philadelphia.

Last Tuesday, the bodies of Hunter Mock, 18, and Angelito Caraballo, 16, were found dead in a wooded area outside New Philadelphia. Earlier in the day, police issued a missing persons report on each.

Now, according to search warrant documents secured from District Magistrate David Plachko’s office, we’re learning more about the State Police investigation into these deaths.

A person involved in the case, Lamour Branch, 19, is currently in custody and locked up at Schuylkill County Prison on other charges. However, Branch says he wasn’t the only one involved in the reported crimes.

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No arrests have been made yet related to this incident last week in New Philadelphia.

Search Warrants Executed in New Philadelphia Homicide Case – Timeline of Events

Here is a detailed timeline of events related to the homicide investigation in New Philadelphia, according to court documents:

October 8 – 11:52 p.m. – Neighbors Report Unidentified Man at Their Door

This incident started on the night of October 8. Just before midnight that night, police received a call from someone saying an unknown black man was knocking at their front door on Ferndale Rd. asking for help.

Police say this was Jahlique Sherwood, 19, of St. Clair. They say when troopers arrived at the scene of that call, Sherwood was soaking wet, was wearing ripped sweatpants but had on no shoes. He was “visibly shaking from the cold,” police say in their affidavit.

Sherwood reportedly told police he had been hanging out with two of his friends, “Hunter” and “Angel” but didn’t provide their last names at the time. He also told police that his friends had another person with them named “Lamour” but Sherwood didn’t provide that name, either.

He told police “Lamour” was reportedly from Florida.

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The four involved reportedly drove to New Philadelphia, parked a vehicle along the side of the road and walked into the woods. Sherwood told police that once they were in the woods, they were hanging out near what he believed to be a pond, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

At some point during the night, Sherwood says “Lamour” pulled out a gun and began shooting toward “Angel” and “Hunter”.

Sherwood told police he ran for about 25-30 minutes after getting out of what he believed to be a pond in the woods. He said he lost contact with his friends “Angel” and “Hunter” and ran until he found a home and knocked on the door.

When police arrived, Sherwood was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill for treatment of injuries he sustained in this incident.

Police noted that while they were on the scene in New Philadelphia, Branch and the white Dodge SUV he reportedly drove there were gone.

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October 9 – 8:30-11:20 p.m. – Missing Persons Reports Filed

Two missing persons reports were phoned in to troopers stationed at State Police barracks in Frackville: Caraballo and Mock.

October 10 – Just After Midnight – Ex-Girlfriend Says Branch Wanted a Ride to Mountain Top

A former girlfriend of Branch and the woman believed to be the mother of his child, Kyla Alton, was contacted by Branch just after midnight on Oct. 10.

Branch reportedly identified himself to Alton and told her he’d gotten a new phone.

Alton says Branch asked her to pick him up at Randazzo Pizza & Restaurant in Tremont. She says that’s near a place where Branch used to live, 25 E. Laurel St., and that she was very familiar with it. It’s a place Branch recently had access to and hosted numerous parties.

This home was sold by Branch’s deceased mother, Cynthia Salvador-Branch, back in 2021.

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When Alton arrived to pick up Branch, he asked her to drive him to Mountain Top, to another place his late mother owned.

Alton reportedly drove Branch to that location and says she arrived some time between 1-2 a.m.

Later, it was determined after Alton was contacted by the State Police Fugitive Unit that Alton picked up Branch at 1:06 a.m. and they arrived in Mountain Top by 3:38 a.m.

October 10 – 3:25 a.m. – Witness Says She Discovered Bodies of Caraballo and Mock

State Police report getting a phone call from a reported friend of Caraballo and Mock. She told police that she’d been out looking for her friends in an area known as “The Sanchez”, a former mining area that was filled with water. The path to it from the road is heavily wooded and leads to a steep embankment.

Police say this area is popular with people who often go there and set bonfires while socializing. “The Sanchez” is approximately one-third mile south of Ferndale Rd., between Billies Rd. and Washington St.

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Police arrived at the scene of “The Sanchez” and say they discovered the deceased bodies of Caraballo and Mock at the bottom of the embankment.

October 10 – 5:53 a.m. – Coroner Pronounces Caraballo and Mock Dead at Crime Scene

Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Albert Barnes arrives at the scene outside New Philadelphia and pronounces Caraballo and Mock dead at 6:02 a.m.

According to his report, Mock died of a gunshot wound to his head. Caraballo died as a result of “several puncture wounds” and lacerations.

October 10 – 9:30 a.m. – Sherwood Provides More Details in Follow-up Interview

Sherwood was interviewed once again at State Police barracks in Frackville. There, he was able to fully identify the person he called “Lamour” as Lamour Branch.

At that time, police say they observed “recent cuts and lacerations” on Sherwood.

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During this follow-up interview, Sherwood reportedly told police that Branch had called him on Instagram on Oct. 8, asking him to hang out. Branch told Sherwood that Caraballo and “potentially several females” would be there, too.

Sherwood says Branch picked him up in a white Dodge SUV sometime after 9 p.m. on Oct. 8. Before heading to “The Sanchez”, Sherwood and Branch picked up Mock and Caraballo.

This new interview also revealed details about the events prior to the shooting and about the shooting incident, according to what Sherwood told police.

During this second interview, Sherwood says he, Branch, Mock, and Caraballo were “talking like best friends” for a while hanging out at “The Sanchez” until the situation turned.

At one point, Sherwood says Branch pulled out a “black firearm” from his waistband using his right hand. The gun had a laser sight and flashlight attached. Initially, Branch pointed the gun at the water but then pointed it in the direction of Mock and Caraballo.

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Mock and Caraballo began to run away, Sherwood says. He told police he believed he heard between 10-20 shots ring out as he fled the scene. Behind him, Sherwood says he heard Caraballo yell out to Branch, “STOP!”

At some point during his getaway run, Sherwood says he ditched his cell phone that had the flashlight on in an attempt to conceal his location. He told police that he was “scared for his life” when he ran and believed Branch wanted to “take everyone out.”

Police say they asked Sherwood why Branch did what he reportedly did that night. Sherwood explained that Branch was “crashing out” and that he reportedly told him in the past that he was ready to “crash out” due to the loss of his mother and father. He also said Branch reportedly said he’d been told that the child he believed was his was not.

October 10 – 2:15 p.m. – Cell Phone Recovered at Crime Scene

Troopers take Sherwood back to the scene outside New Philadelphia and they’re able to recover the cell phone he said he’d tossed in his getaway. Police took Sherwood’s phone into evidence. They were also able to recover a black iPhone in Mock’s pocket and took it into evidence as well.

Evening of October 10 – Branch’s White Dodge Spotted in Tremont

Police observed that white Dodge SUV near Randazzo Pizza in Tremont, at the rear of a residence located at 25 E. Laurel St.

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October 10 – 9:40 p.m. – Branch Taken Into Custody in Luzerne County

Back at PSP-Schuylkill Haven, a criminal complaint was prepared against Branch charging him with burglary and other related crimes. An arrest warrant was signed by District Magistrate AJ Serina to apprehend Branch.

A search-and-seizure warrant was also signed by Luzerne County District Magistrate Kokura Kravitz for Branch at that Mountain Top residence, technically in Wright Township

At 9:40 p.m., members of the US Marshal Fugitive Task Force executed the search warrant at that Mountain Top area home. Authorities say when they knocked on the door, they could hear activity inside.

Once inside, Branch was taken into custody. A search of the residence’s bedroom revealed an “extended magazine” on the bed. A cell phone was playing some type of video or movie, police say. Near the dresser was also a “large silver kitchen knife.”

Branch was taken to the State Police barracks in Frackville for questioning.

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October 10 – 11:11 p.m. – Branch Questioned by Police

Police began questioning Branch when he arrived back the PSP-Frackville barracks.

Initially, police say, Branch was “apprehensive about cooperating” with police in their investigation. Police say he lied about already known information in the case.

Branch even reportedly told police he wasn’t at the scene of the reported incident. However, he later told police that he’d picked up “Face” (aka Sherwood) during the evening hours of Oct. 8 in his white Dodge Journey.

Branch also said he’d had previous conversations with Mock and Caraballo about hanging out on the 8th.

After picking up Sherwood, the two headed to New Philadelphia and picked up Mock. Branch said he didn’t know Caraballo would be tagging along but they’d all agreed to go shooting that night.

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He said when they arrived at the scene, all four were taking turns firing the gun.

This is where Branch’s tale of events differs from what Sherwood related to police earlier. He said when the magazine was nearly empty, Sherwood had the gun and reportedly shot Mock in the head and “he dropped immediately.”

Branch said Sherwood dropped the gun and instructed Branch to “get Angel.” Branch told police he grabbed the gun and fired it in the direction of Caraballo, attempting to kill him.

Branch told police he heard a click and the gun didn’t fire. That’s when a fight broke out between Caraballo, Sherwood, and Branch, and Branch says he “lost sight” of those two.

Afterward, Branch told police he went to 325 Coal St. in Port Carbon, a property owned by his late mother, and changed his clothing, leaving the clothes he wore during the incident at that house, which he described as a red and black hoodie with a Playboy symbol on it, a pair of sweatpants, and white shoes.

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October 10 – Police Question Other Witnesses and Contacts

Police conducted several other interviews with people who had contact with Branch, Mock, and Caraballo prior to or after the alleged incidents in the woods outside New Philadelphia.

Hailey Califf

Califf, a friend of the parties involved in this incident, reportedly told police that she spoke to Mock on Facetime around 10 p.m. on Oct. 8. Mock apparently said he and Caraballo were going to “The Sanchez” with “Bro Bro” (an alias for Branch) “to shoot a gun.”

Califf said in her interview with police that she tried calling Mock later, around midnight, and did not get a response.

Police were then shown Ring security camera footage by Califf. That reportedly showed Mock and Caraballo leaving her apartment at 10:25 p.m. on Oct. 8. Califf told police that Mock had a “ghost gun” in his possession. This “ghost gun” featured a laser pointer and a long magazine that she believed held 9mm ammo.

The clothing Mock and Caraballo were wearing in that Ring footage apparently matched what they were wearing when their bodies were found at the bottom of the embankment near “The Sanchez” on the morning of the 10th.

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Zoey Frost

Frost was interviewed by police at the State Police barracks in Frackville on Oct. 10. Frost says she tried contacting Branch on Snapchat to ask him about Caraballo and Mock.

Branch reportedly did reply to her messages and said he’d dropped them off at a residence in New Philadelphia.

October 11 – Security Camera Footage in Port Carbon

Police say they contacted people at the residence of 323 Coal St. in Port Carbon to view footage collected by a security camera on the front porch.

That footage reportedly revealed Branch parking that white Dodge Journey in front of 325 Coal St. at about 10:10 p.m. on Oct. 8. Branch is reportedly seen exiting the driver side of the vehicle and there’s an unidentified person in the vehicle, too. He exited the premises a short time later and traveled south on Coal St.

At 11:35 p.m. on the night of the 8th, Branch arrived at that same location, parking the vehicle facing south.

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Then, at 12:10 a.m. on Oct. 9, Branch is seen on camera arriving back at that same location, where he double-parks facing north on Coal St. Police say he exited the residence a short time later carrying an unidentified object before getting in and driving away, north on Coal St.

Warrants Issued – What are Police Looking for in Their Investigation?

new philadelphia murders investigation continues. details are released into what police have learned so far.

Here is what police are looking for in this investigation, based on the search warrant affidavits we received:

Branch DNA: Police seek a DNA swab of Branch as well as photographs of his body that could link him to the scene of the crimes and the potential commission of them.

Sherwood DNA: Police seek a DNA swab of Sherwood as well as photographs of his body, including of injuries reportedly sustained in the incident outside New Philadelphia.

Medical Records of Sherwood: Police seek the complete medical records of the care he received while at LVHN-Schuylkill between Oct. 8-9.

White Dodge Journey: Police believe this is the vehicle Branch drove to the scene of the alleged crime. It was later discovered in Tremont, near Randazzo Pizza. Police believe Branch parked it there in order to conceal its location. They believe the SUV may have trace evidence of the scene in New Philadelphia that would link him to the alleged crime.

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325 Coal St., Port Carbon: Police requested access to this property to collect and test any trace evidence they believe can be linked to the incident outside New Philadelphia. It is listed as the estate of Cynthia Salvador-Branch and Joann Murillo, of Ocala, Florida.

Branch reportedly visited this property before and after being in New Philadelphia with Caraballo, Mock, and Sherwood.

Police believe Branch visited prior to going to New Philadelphia and there is an unknown person in the vehicle with him. And they believe he came here after the incident to change clothes.

Cell phones: Police have obtained search warrants for the phones of Sherwood, later recovered at the scene in the woods outside New Philadelphia, and Mock, which was found on his person when authorities arrived and pronounced him dead at that scene.

Police believe these devices contain information stored on social media apps – which Sherwood says is the primary means he used to communicate with Branch – voice and text messages and stored photos.

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Ongoing Investigation

Currently, no charges have been filed as a result of this investigation into the incident outside New Philadelphia.

Branch was apprehended in Wright Township, Luzerne County, on a warrant related to felony burglary and trespassing charges on Oct. 10.

He was arraigned on Oct. 11 in front of District Magistrate James Reiley and sent to Schuylkill County Prison on $25,000 cash bail, which he has not posted.

A Preliminary Hearing on those charges has been continued from Oct. 24 until Dec. 5.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Timmy

    October 19, 2023 at 10:27 am

    Thank you, Canary, for your very detailed reporting. You have tons of information compared to any other media outlets.

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