Retired detective faces assault charges

Woman obtains PFA against Zahradnik

A retired Altoona police detective faces simple assault and harassment charges.

A woman came to police Wednesday with a representative from Family Services Inc. to report that she was the victim of ongoing domestic violence by Craig Zahradnik, 46.

The victim lived with Zahradnik at 504 56th St. for about three years. During that time, the woman said Zahradnik would not allow her to leave the residence; forbade her to speak with neighbors, friends and family; and screened and monitored all of her phone calls.

The woman said Zahradnik would often make veiled threats, allegedly saying things such as, “I’ll take both of us out; we’ll go down together.” In another case, she said he threatened to call a man named “Earl” and said he would “Show Earl where to hide her body in the woods,” according to the police report.

The woman said on numerous occasions she attempted to leave Zahradnik, but he would continuously stalk and harass her until she agreed to return to his residence, the police report states.

Verbal altercations turned physical Sunday when Zahradnik allegedly attempted to wrestle a cellphone from her hand. She was treated for bruising and a broken finger at UPMC Altoona. The woman obtained an emergency protection-from-abuse order against Zahradnik.

Zahradnik was taken into custody. Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller set Zahradnik’s bail at $30,000 cash. Zahradnik is confined at the Blair County Prison awaiting a preliminary hearing on April 4 before Miller.

In December 2016, Zahradnik entered the county’s Accelerated Rehabilita­tion Disposition program for six years to resolve criminal charges that his attorney said grew out of a heated custody battle.

Zahradnik had been facing charges in two criminal cases, one filed in September 2012 when Altoona police charged him with stalking his ex-wife. At that time, Zahradnik had called police to have officers check on the welfare of the ex-wife and children, court records report. While police found no reason for concern, the ex-wife told police how Zahradnik followed her and her children by car for an hour.

Additional charges were filed in November 2014, also by Altoona police, after Zahradnik’s sons allegedly told a child abuse forensic interviewer about Zahradnik’s erratic driving and his behavior that included pushing, shoving, grabbing and shaking them.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.