On Christmas Day

The neighborhood was decorated for Christmas, all except one house. That house was lit by police lights. Instead of Christmas decorations, there was crime scene tape. Instead of a Christmas party, there were law enforcement officers and investigators. The house was decorated in other years, but one of the household had told neighbors they weren’t going to decorate this year.

 Joel E. Bodley, 60, and  Debby Chuba, 55, lived in the home with Debby J. Chuba’s 17 year old son Andrew “Drew” S. Chuba. Joel Bodley, a retired railroad worker,  has been variously described as sociable, pleasant, easygoing and talkative. He seemed well liked. Debby Chuba was a nurse, also appears to have been well liked, and described as friendly and sociable. Neighbors say the relationship did not appear troubled.

According to a neighbor, Bodley stopped into a neighbor’s home on Christmas morning to wish them a Merry Christmas. “He’s really an easy-going guy, talkative, very talkative. He was over here probably quarter after 2, 2:30 (p.m.).” They noted he was unshaven, and  say that was uncharacteristic for him. A neighbor he had visited the previous day noted the same thing. Both neighbors seemed to feel that he acted differently. “Quarter after 3, the police arrived.”

Christmas Eve Drew Chuba was at his girlfriend’s home and before he left they made plans to get together on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day police received a call about 3:15 pm which they presume to be from Bodley. The caller told them there were three dead bodies at the home.

When police arrived, they found Joel Bodley on the living room couch with an apparently self inflicted gunshot wound. They found Debby Chuba in a second floor bedroom, she had been shot at close range. They found Andrew “Drew” Chuba in the basement behind a couch, also shot at close range.

zwire.com              post-gazette.com              kdka.com

pittsburghlive.com                                centredaily.com

Christmas is a wonderful holiday. A time of love and togetherness. Yet for some, Christmas is a time of profound depression.

The gaiety exhibited by others, the ideal that all families come together in love for Christmas, can all cause an increase in stress. It can often cause any deficiencies in a person’s life to stand out like a bias relief cutout.

Police will be trying to determine what led up to this tragedly. And they will look at many aspects of the couple’s life and relationship. But I have to wonder- was the decision this year to not decorate for Christmas a sign that someone in the household was suffering with depression? Being uncharacterisically unshaven could also be another sign (or he could have made a decision to grow a beard). The visit to the neighbor’s, was that a symbolic goodbye?

If there wasn’t a note, if he did not talk to anyone, there will always be questions. Questions like “was there something we missed, something we should have seen?” “Was there something we could have, should have done?” And the big question, “Why?”

But unless he talked, unless he spelled out what he was thinking of doing, no one else is to blame for this. He may have left a few hints, but no one ever thinks that someone else will ever do the unbelievable. Especially not a nice guy.


More information about the shootings and the persons involved.




  1. Garren Mallette said,

    December 28, 2006 at 10:59 am

    I am 19 years old and currently serving in Germany in the United States Air Force. I was a friend of Drew’s I knew him since elementary school. I got this horrible news the day after christmas from my mother. It still plays in my mind and questions are always coming up. I never really knew his mother or her boyfriend. But, no one deserves this. People can come up with thoughts and theories all they want, there is no excuse for this. Drew was 17 still just a boy, yet died tramatically. Sure, there could have been signs leading up to this but it is no ones fault but the person who held the gun! It kills me that I cannot go home and go to the viewing and funeral of my friend. It kills me that I cannot say my final goodbye. For someone so young and innocent to die.. there is no excuse there is no one else to be blamed but Joel Bodley a name that will forever be etched in my mind and many others.

  2. December 28, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Garren Mallette, first of all let me thank you for your service. You have given up a lot to keep me safe and I want you to know that I am aware of that and that I appreciate it.
    I wish you were able to go to the funeral too. Since you cannot, perhaps someone can attend in your place, or someone who is already attending can let you know about it afterward. It won’t be the same, but if you take a moment by yourself and think of the good times you had with Drew, things that were said or done, perhaps you can say your goodbye privately. Maybe there is some ritual you would like to preform whether it is to light a candle or drink a beer while you are thinking of him. Then afterwards, spend some time with your buddies or make a phone call home. It isn’t the same I agree. But it can be your own way of saying goodbye.

  3. victoria said,

    December 28, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    Christmas wont ever be the same. I am one of drews friends, and it hurts me how this had to happen. Drew could always make everyone laugh, he was such a nice boy and still had so much of his life to live. He was deinfetly the life of the party, and chistmas wont ever be they same. MISS you buddy, ill see you up there 😥

  4. Robin said,

    January 7, 2007 at 6:35 am

    I new Drew though a placement he was in around three years ago. He was a great kid and my son and I will never forget him. I give my deepest sympathy to his sibblings and other relatives, I could not fathem the sorrow you must be dealing with. I ‘ll never forget all the fun times. You will be dearly missed! My son will never forget you and niether will I. We love you and will miss you.

  5. Stacey said,

    January 17, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    First of all I wanna thank everyone who was here and is still here for us all.It’s been a real tragedy,and we will never know all the answers.Drew and my mom had a lot of people who really cared for them and that makes us all feel good.I do have a few things to say though.As for her house not being decorated that was a lie.My mother has kept a little tree since we all moved out and Drew was 17 he didn’t seem to mind.They did have lights and maybe they just always weren’t turned on.She also had the inside decorated beautifully with her snowmen and santa clauses.I’m sure she also had a few poinsetta’s.She never went all out she was just that laid back and always put a smile on everyone’s face.Well now we all have them both looking down on us from this beautiful place in heaven watching us all and they’ll never leave are hearts.

  6. January 17, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Stacey, thank you for the correction about the Christmas decoration. Actually, the impression I had from the articles was more to the fact that maybe they didn’t decorate as much outdoors as they had in previous years, in the articles I had read no one had mentioned the home inside. But now I understand that my impression of that was wrong.

  7. adria said,

    January 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Being a member of that family I would just like to point out that no matter what the “aspects”of the couples life and relationship were that still gives no one the right to take someone else’s life. Everyone needs to remember that people say things and write things just to get a story and you should never believe anything you read or hear unless it comes straight from the family. I understand that it is certain peoples jobs to do this, but they also need to respect the families who are grieving over such a tragic loss. I dont decorate the outside of my house for Christmas does that mean I am depressed? Not at all I just dont have the time. Yes there is lots of questions we have unfortunatley we will never have the answers, but we cant dwell on them we have to learn to move on and remember what wonderful people Debby and Drew were.

    I thank all of you for the kind comments on here and for all the support you have shown my family.

  8. taneke said,

    November 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    drew was my friend and im really gonna miss him!!! i still cant believe hes gonna! he was always the boy down the street! why did this happen??? i want answers!!! R.I.P!! forever drew !! i love you!!!Dawg

  9. june chuba said,

    June 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I’ll never forget, nor can I forgive. I love ya, sister

  10. Sara Minda said,

    December 24, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I remember that day very clear i was sitting in placement when i herd the news i was torn, shocked and speechless i could not beleive what i was hearing I grew up with drew in school we were close. He was always nice and always put a smile on everyones face. I think about him all the time i to have questions that will remain un answered. All i can say is my heart goes out to the family and I hope that someday your hearts will be at peace with this horrible tragedy. He will always be deeply missed. Everyone is right christmas day will never be the same if you knew who he was and what a wonderfull person he was. There will always be that void. I hope that the family will some how fill that void in the years to come on christmas day. Love always Sara. Rest In Peace Little Drew. Love ya

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