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Man shoveling snow outside church found unconscious, bleeding

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 10 2014 04:00:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2014 05:59:24 AM CDT

How did a good deed in Lehigh County go so wrong?

WASHINGTON TWP., Pa. -

One minute, a man was shoveling snow outside his church. The next, he was unconscious and bleeding. Now, police want to know what happened in-between.

Troy Markell underwent surgery Monday to fix his broken eye socket. His family said the dedicated church member was severely injured by something or someone while helping to clear snow for the handicapped.

"He has a skull fracture, eye socket fracture, both cheeks are fractured," said his wife, Dee Markell.

Markell also has memory loss. His family said it all happened as the member of St. Peter's United Methodist Church was clearing handicapped spaces of snow around 9 a.m. on Sat., March 1.

"Trying to make clear for the gentleman who parks there for church so he would have an easier time getting into church," Dee Markell said.

At this point, police don't know if Markell, 46, was the victim of a hit-and-run or a brutal beating. The driver of a passing car found him bleeding on the cement. His wife said his phone and wallet were still in his pocket.

Church Pastor Bill Ritzenthaler said he's surprised by the situation but not that Markell was trying to lend a helping hand.

"If he finds out you need a roof replaced, he is the one who offers help. If you need a tool, he is the one who offers it. Whatever he can do, he will," Ritzenthaler said.

Now, police and the family are trying to figure out how and why anyone would have bad intentions for the good-hearted church member.

"It saddens me to think you're helping the community and the church and someone will come along and hurt somebody," Dee Markell said.

Markell said her husband does remember her, but not much else. She is hopeful for a full recovery.