Ranch farm hand found dead on Colorado property identified as central Pa. club field hockey coach, Harrisburg fugitive William Gaudette: authorities

This story contains details that could cause triggered reactions. Please be advised that its contents are the conclusion of a medical and police investigation in Colorado.


William Gaudette, the founder of the defunct East Coast Field Hockey club in central Pennsylvania, has died, according to authorities in Colorado.


Gaudette, 79, had evaded police for just over two years. He was on the run and wanted by Pennsylvania State Police on allegations of sexually assaulting and raping one of his underaged athletes.


The news of Gaudette’s warrant for his arrest in October 2021 sent shockwaves throughout the field hockey community. Gaudette, an Army veteran, left Hummelstown a few weeks before police announced they had a warrant, according to sources close to the matter.


On Sept. 30, his body was found at the bottom of a 20-foot ravine in Elbert County, Colorado, police said. Authorities said he had been involved in an accident with mowing equipment that overturned. There was no formal announcement made by either the Elbert County Sheriff’s Department or Pennsylvania State Police.


According to police documents, one of the owners of the ranch told police that they were supposed to go “shooting” with Gaudette on Sept. 30, but they hadn’t heard anything from him. When they went to check on him, they discovered that Gaudette left a barn door open, which was unusual for him, they said.


They noticed a piece of mowing equipment was also missing. The owners began to search for him on the property, which is when they discovered his body, police said.


Gaudette had been using the aliases “Richard Gaudette” and “Nevin Jackson,” police said. Medical reports show that the Elbert County Coroner issued his date of death as Sept. 29, 2023.


Gaudette had been employed at the ranch for three weeks, police said. He didn’t have any formal form of identification. The two parties agreed to a contract, which outlined their working arrangement.


The owners allowed police to search their property where Gaudette was staying. Police said they found an unsecured laptop, which had files of a photocopy of an identification card and several Adobe Photoshop files, which appeared to show a Pennsylvania Driver’s License. The information in the file and identification card had been altered, but the date of birth was Gaudette’s, police said.


Authorities verified Gaudette’s identity and discovered that he had had an active nationwide warrant out of Pennsylvania for statutory rape. Following an autopsy, the Elbert County Coroner’s Office “stated they were confident in the subject’s identity as William Gaudette III,” according to police records.


The Coroner’s Office stated that they notified the Pennsylvania State Police of his death on Oct. 5. The autopsy revealed that Gaudette had broken “all of his ribs on the left side of his body and that a fragment had punctured his heart.”


The cause of death was ruled “blunt force injuries to the torso.”



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