Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich

Police Interview Danny at the Hospital

Daniel Kovarbasich
Daniel Kovarbasich

After his arrival at the hospital, it was determined through medical tests that Danny had elevated levels of a heart enzyme, troponin, typically brought on by a high stress level and/or by becoming overly excited. As a result, doctors told the Kovarbasichs that Danny could not be released until the heart enzyme levels returned to normal. While he was being observed, arrangements were made to transfer Danny to a pediatric hospital where he would continue to be treated and observed. However, before the transfer could be made, the local police showed up to interview Danny, along with his parents. Sgt. Vincent Abt of the North Ridgeville Police Department caught the assignment to conduct the initial interview.

As he attempted to gather details of the events of that morning from Danny and his parents, while detectives and crime scene technicians continued their work at Hurley's house gathering evidence and analyzing the situation, Abt learned that Duane Hurley, a former city worker, was a bachelor who lived alone. His house was less than a mile from the Kovarbasich family home. He sometimes paid Danny and his older teenage brother to help him with chores around his house. The boys liked to hang out at Hurley's house—he had a computer with Internet access, cable television, and sports cars. They eventually came to view Hurley as a grandfather figure of sorts, particularly Danny, who had been going to his house for a number of years. Appreciative of Hurley's generosity toward their sons, Terry and Donna often included Hurley during their holiday family events. As far as they were concerned, he was a great family friend.

When Abt asked Danny what had happened that morning at Hurley's house, Danny at first responded that he "didn't really remember." However, Abt pressed him to provide details of what he could remember so that everyone could make some sense out of it all.

Often speaking quietly with obvious trepidation remaining in his voice, Danny recounted how he was dropped off at Hurley's house. He explained that he made a pot of coffee, and while it was brewing he went outside and smoked a cigarette. When he went back inside, he went into Hurley's room to use the computer but had been unable to connect to the Internet. He explained that he told Hurley that he was going to lie down for a bit.

"Okay, I'm going to get some pickles," Danny quoted Hurley as saying.

Pickles? Abt would later remark that he thought the comment about the pickles was a bit strange, in part because, he said, it appeared to "come out of nowhere."

In response to further questioning about the pickles, Danny told Abt that he did not know why Hurley had mentioned pickles. He said that Hurley sometimes purchased items for his family, and that it was possible that Hurley had bought a jar of pickles for his mother. Abt, thinking like a cop, would later say that he considered another use for the pickles, and in his mind could not rule out the possibility that their intended use may have been for kinky sex play.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'