A registered sex offender from Philadelphia has been arrested in connection with human body parts, including deep-fried hands and feet, that were found in the back of a U-Haul truck, inside a burglarized home and in a dumpster.
Taray Herring, 47, was arraigned on Saturday on abuse of a corpse and burglary charges, as well as counts of criminal trespass, theft, and evidence-tampering. He was ordered held without bail.
Police responding to a burglary call in the 1000 block of Sanibel Street in the Somerton neighborhood at around 9am on Thursday followed a U-Haul truck that drove away from the property. Herring was the passenger in the vehicle.
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Taray Herring, 47 (left), has been charged with abuse of a corpse and burglary charges, as well as counts of criminal trespass, theft, and evidence-tampering in connection with the discovery of human remains reportedly belonging to Peter Gerold, 70 (right)
Herring was arrested after police investigating a burglary in Philadelphia pulled over this U-Haul truck on Thursday and discovered a man’s torso in the back
‘Driver side door opened up, driver came out with his hands up and said, I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me. I was paid to move a body,’ Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said, reported Philadelphia Inquirer.
Police opened the back of the moving truck and found a man’s dismembered body in a trash bag. An unspecified weapon was also recovered.
The vehicle’s two occupants were arrested, but the the driver was released without charges after questioning.
Although the victim has not been officially named, neighbors have identified him as 70-year-old Peter Gerold, who they say ran a massage therapy practice out of his home on Sanibel Street.
Police said that on Wednesday, someone from a out of state called them, asking to perform a welfare check on Gerold. Officers arrived at the residence but did not force their way inside because the home seemed secure and there were no signs of a break-in or foul play.
After interviewing Herring, police found body parts inside Gerold’s unattached garage and evidence that someone had tried to burn the remains, reported 6abc.
Police went to Gerold’s home and reportedly recovered additional human remains inside an unattached garage on Sanibel Street
Deep-fried human hands and feet were found in this dumpster behind a Wawa store near Gerold’s residence
Police also went to search dumpsters behind the Wawa store on Kelvin Street near Gerold’s home and uncovered additional remains, including deep-fried hands and feet.
On Friday, police and Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia returned to Gerold’s residence and removed more than 60 exotic animals, including 30 parrots, as well as bearded drag lizards, tortoises and koi fish.
Neighbors described Gerold as a kind person who shared honey from his beehives with them, and who was known for offering work to random people seeking to make some money.
They said they had not seen him for about a week and had grown concerned for his well-being.
‘He helped out a lot of people, so you know it was somebody that he probably helped out at one point that came back and did this to him,’ one neighbor told CBS Philly.
On Friday, animal control officials removed more than 60 exotic animals, including parrots and lizards, from Gerold’s home
Records indicate that Herring has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2001, which includes convictions for aggravated assault, indecent assault, harassment and simple assault.
In 2015, he was found guilty of indecent assault and harassment stemming from a 2013 incident, and was sentenced to nine to 18 months, but was immediately paroled. He was also registered as a sex offender.
Herring got in trouble with the law again in May 2020, when he was arrested on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, and theft. That case against him is still pending.
Herring is due in court for a preliminary hearing on March 1.