Harrison County: ‘Nothing Short Of A Miracle’
Just a week after being struck by lightning while attending church camp, Zachary Sandy, age 18, has been discharged from the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, PA and is expected to make a full recovery.
“From where he was last Wednesday to where he is today is nothing short of a miracle,” said his father Randy. “There’s nothing else to explain it.”
Zachary, a recent graduate of Robert C. Byrd High School in Harrison County, was attending a church camp in Parkersburg on July 11, 2012 when his father got word that his son had been struck by lightning and his life hung in the balance.
Paramedics said Zachary was without a pulse for 15 to 20 minutes and three different times doctors contemplated pronouncing the 18 year-old dead.
However, paramedics were able to get a pulse back and Zachary was flown to the West Penn Burn Center.
Zachary was initially placed on life support but little by little family and doctors saw improvement in him every day.
“We prayed for him to live. We prayed for a pulse, for him to wake up, for him to talk, for him to wake up,” recalls Russell Sandy.
Russell says his son is still experiencing some short-term memory loss and is a little wobbly on his feet but doctors have assured him his son is going to make a full recovery.
“He’s been texting on his phone, he’s been on Facebook,” chuckled Russell.
Zachary will now continue his rehab at Healthsouth in Morgantown.
I-79 - Wreck Forces Long Detour
I-79 South Reopened In Roane County
Southbound lanes at 36 mile marker in Roane County reopened after crews clear wreckage from morning tractor trailer crash.
A tractor trailer crash Monday morning in Roane County has closed both southbound lanes just about a mile north of the Amma exit.
As the result there is a long detour for southbound motorists on Interstate 79 today.
Southbound interstate traffic is being detoured off the Wallback exit onto state Route 36 to Clay and then south on state Route 4 to Clendenin in Kanawha County where motorists are directed to U.S. Route 119 and back to the interstate.
The large truck went through the guardrail and there is work to try to get the wreckage back on the interstate and hauled away.
Roane County Man Files FOIA Suit to Get Answers to Daughter’s Death, Disappearance
The WV Record Reports:
A Roane County man whose teenage daughter went missing for seven years before her body was finally discovered near the Wirt/Roane county line is seeking answers as to why her disappearance, and death remain unsolved.
Jesse Starcher on June 27 filed suit against the West Virginia State Police, the Roane County 911 Center and the city of Spencer in Kanawha Circuit Court.
In his complaint, Starcher, 49, of Spencer, seeks an order compelling them to release under the state Freedom of Information Act documents in their possession relating to his daughter, Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt who, then 18-years-old, went missing nearly a decade ago, and whose remains were later discovered in 2009.
In his 26-page complaint, Starcher details how he attempted to get answers from the State Police’s Roane County detachment, the city of Spencer and the 911 Center about Christian’s disappearance on Aug. 31, 2002.
Records show requests he made starting in 2004 were denied on the grounds that information he was requesting were part of an on-going investigation.
Shortly after Christian’s skeletal remains were discovered on Groundhog Ridge near Creston on Dec. 16, 2009, Starcher again made requests for information, including an emergency call Christian made to the 911 Center the day before she went missing.
All his requests, which were made as late as August were denied either on the grounds of, again, a pending investigation or his failure to state with specificity the information he was requesting.
In his suit, Starcher openly accuses Hueston M. Eads, a Spencer police officer, of either having knowledge of or being complicit in Christian’s disappearance.
At his suggestion, Starcher says Christian spoke with Eads about information she had relating to the murder of Ronnie Stag.
According to Starcher, Christian “implicated several Clay County law enforcement officers in drug-related activity.“
Also, Starcher maintains that sometime after Christian went missing, Judd Reed, who accompanied her on several occasions to speak with Eads, was murdered.
Though he was “dismissive of Christian’s story,“ Starcher says Eads was “successful in involving himself into both the handling of Christian Starcher’s disappearance and the investigation of the murder of Judd Reed, in spite of the fact that the murder unquestionably occurred outside his jurisdiction, namely, outside Spencer and in rural Roane County.“
In his suit, Starcher says that the excuse offered by the State Police, the 911 Center and the city of Spencer in denying his FOIA requests on the grounds “that a genuine investigation of the matter was ongoing” is “a sham.“
Instead, he says “the report of investigation and the contents of the tape are being withheld from him primarily to protect law-enforcement personnel who may have had some level of responsibility in [Christian’s] disappearance.“
Along with one compelling release of the information he’s requested, Starcher seeks another ordering the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to issue a death certificate for Christian so he can qualify as administrator of her estate in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Also, he seeks recovery of court costs, and attorneys fees.
Starcher is represented by Charleston attorney David R. Karr Jr.
The case is assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 12-C-1204
~~ Lawrence Smith - WV Record ~~
Lightning Causes Damage in Roane County
The thunderstorms on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 caused significant damage in Roane County, WV.
A home on Triplett Road, just outside Spencer was struck by lightning and caught fire.
The same thing happened to a barn on Toms Run in Reedy.
The Man Trailer Court in Spencer received significant damage from thunderstorms as well.
ATV Crash Kills Toddler in Calhoun County
An ATV wreck kills a 2-year-old and injures a three-year-old sibling.
It happened in Calhoun County, Saturday night June 30, 2012 on Beech Road.
Police say the children’s father was driving an ATV with the two children around 10:45 PM at night when they plunged over a hillside.
Little Reagen McKown died of her injuries a short time later at the hospital.
Nelson Edward “Eddie” Bailey
Nelson Edward “Eddie” Bailey
Age 34 of Cox’s Mills, WV departed this life suddenly at 9:29 PM Wednesday June 20, 2012 on Sangtown Road (Ritchie County)as a result of an ATV accident.
He was born on February 15, 1978 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, son of Carlous B. and Priscilla Davidson Bailey.
Eddie was a graduate of Gilmer County High School class of 1997. He worked at FCI Gilmer as a Guard and enjoyed hunting with a special interest in rabbit hunting. He was a member of the Mountain State Beagle Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Rifle Association, 4H All Star, FFA.
He was a Protestant by faith.
Eddie was a wonderful father, son, brother, partner and friend. He was loved and adored by all who knew him and will be greatly missed by numerous cousins and friends.
Along with his parents, Eddie is survived by (fiancée) Heather McCown and their 2 sons Hunter and Paden of Cox’s Mills, West Virginia.
Also surviving are; (3 brothers) “Little” Carlous Bailey and wife Hope of Cox’s Mills; Roger Osborne and wife Annette of Charleston, West Virginia; and Bruce Osborne and wife Tressie of Brunswick, Ohio.
He is survived by 3 nephews and 2 nieces; Shane Moyers, and wife Tracy of Wilsie, West Virginia; Tyler Moyers, wife Brandy and son Daniel of Cox’s Mill, WV; Daniel Adams and wife Erin of Troy, West Virginia; Jessica Goodrich, husband Steve and son Trayton of Normantown, West Virginia; and Aunna Osborne of Charleston, WV.
Also surviving is Paternal Grandfather Chester Bailey of Cox’s Mills.
He was preceded in death by his Paternal Grandmother Athilene Bailey, Maternal Grandfather Kenneth Davidson, and Maternal Grandparents Gladys and Roger Sutphin.
Funeral Services will be conducted at the Ellyson Mortuary Inc. Glenville West Virginia, at 1:00 PM, Sunday June 24, 2012 with Pastor Bryan Groves officiating.
Burial will follow in the Horn Creek Cemetery, Cox’s Mills WV.
Friends may call 4:00 to 8:00 PM Saturday at the mortuary.
Ellyson Mortuary is assisting the family of Nelson E. “Eddie” Bailey with arrangements.
Woman Killed, Two Others Injured in Crash
A Nicholas County woman was killed and two men were injured when a car was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer.
Jean A. Cogar, age 78, of Summersville, WV, was killed, according to a statement from the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department.
She was a passenger in a car driven by James D. Cogar, age 52, of Summersville, WV.
A tractor-trailer operated by Foster M. Marsh, 76, of Glenville, WV, rear-ended the car about 4:15 PM Sunday, June 10, 2012, at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 19 and WV Hwy 41 in Mt. Nebo.
The two men were injured. One was transported to Summersville Regional Medical Center and the other to Charleston Area Medical Center, but the release gave no further details.
Fatal Crash in Clay County
A fatal single car crash on I-79 in Clay County, WV, claimed the life of a man early Monday afternoon, June 11, 2012.
The accident happened just past the Wallback exit around 1:00 PM.
West Virginia State Police say the driver of an SUV was traveling southbound in the fast lane when he went into the gravel.
The driver over corrected, went back over the road, over a hill and rolled into a tree.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim’s name has not been released.
The crash is still under investigation.
Gas Drilling Triggers Backyard Geysers in West Virginia
Authorities say a gas drilling operation in the Sardis area hit an aquifer and inadvertently re-pressurized a handful of old water wells Wednesday, June 06,2012, creating a backyard geyser at least 10 feet high and several smaller gushers.
The house with the 10- to 12-foot geyser was flooded, said Paul Bump, chief of the Harrison County Bureau of Emergency Services.
At three or four other homes, the water flooded yards and garages.
“It looked like Old Faithful moved out East,“ said Dale Sturm, a 63-year-old retired carpenter who noticed his patio was wet shortly before 7:00 AM.
Sturm said he went outside to investigate and found water “blowing up under my car” from a crack that had opened in the cement about a foot from the garage door.
The residents’ wells have long been disconnected from the indoor plumbing because the homes are all on a public water supply and don’t use them for drinking.
“It’s not a danger to anyone. It’s more of a nuisance,“ said Bump, adding that the residents he spoke to were surprisingly calm. “Can you imagine, waking up to drink your first cup of coffee and see water shooting out of your yard?“
Colorado-based Antero Resources was in the early stages of drilling a well and was using only water and possibly a nontoxic soap when it hit the aquifer, said Kathy Cosco, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
When the well was pressurized, it re-pressurized the old drinking water wells, too.
An official with Antero did not immediately return messages. Cosco said such accidents are rare.
An investigation will be done, but it’s too soon to determine whether Antero committed any violations or fines, she said.
Water is being tested from one home where the well was still linked to an outdoor hose used for gardening, and Cosco said the company will be responsible for testing water from the other wells to ensure it’s not harmful.
Sturm, meanwhile, spent the day on a neighbor’s porch, reluctant to take his daughter and grandchild home for fear flammable and explosive oil and gas could be in the water.
He watched the water pour into the drainage area around his foundation and scooped up a few samples to be tested. Though the gusher eventually tapered off, Sturm said he could still hear it gurgling Wednesday afternoon when he put his ear to the crevice.
Antero’s operation is about 1,000 yards behind his house on a hill, and until now, it hadn’t concerned him.
But if water can get into the crack, he now wonders, why couldn’t flammable oil or gas?
“Natural gas could get in that crevice and filter into my house. And if it hits your water heater, there’s an explosion and there goes your house,“ he said. “I’ve not had anybody ease my mind that I can bring my family home.“
Doddridge County: The Sheriff’s Department Is Looking for Missing Man
Ike King, who was reported missing on Thursday has been located, according to the Doddridge County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office says King was located and picked up in Elkins and is now in custody.
Officials could not confirm when or how King was located.
The Doddridge County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a missing man.
Ike Byron King, age 38, was apparently last seen around 4:00 PM Thursday afternoon, May 31, 2012, near 2nd and Main Street in Weston.
Sheriff’s Deputies say he was supposedly on a mountain bike at the time.
Ike is 5’11’‘, and he weighs about 210 pounds.
He has dark complexion and brown hair.
Officials are not sure what he was wearing or where he might be heading, but family members said he has been working at a cemetery in Bridgeport.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 304.873.1408 or the Doddridge/Ritchie County 911 Center at 304.659.3770.
State Police Superintendent Calls Last Weekend “Challenging” For Troopers
West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers says the Memorial Day Weekend was the “most challenging” for law enforcement in West Virginia than he can recall in his 38-year career.
State Troopers and officers from other law enforcement agencies investigated murders, deadly shootings and fatal traffic accidents.
Smithers says many first responders missed the opportunity over the long weekend to be with their families and reflect on the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“Therefore, I want to express my sincere appreciation, not only the men and women of the West Virginia State Police, but all first responders who willingly gave of themselves this holiday weekend and accomplished the daunting tasks set before them,“ Smithers said in a prepared release.
The fatal traffic accidents began with three separate crashes Friday afternoon and night.
William Fontaine of Columbus, Ohio died on U.S. Route 35 in Mason County when his truck slammed into a tractor-trailer head-on; Kristen Stiltner, 17, of Wayne was killed in a wreck on Camp Branch Road in Wayne County and Justus Ratliff, 16, of Parkersburg, died late Friday night when a vehicle he was in rolled over near Elizabeth in Wirt County.
State Police say a Maryland man was killed Saturday in an ATV accident in Tucker County. Troopers say Bernard Ritz III, 37, of Abingdon, Maryland, lost control of his four-wheeler on High Run Road and crashed into a rock embankment.
A weekend camping trip turned tragic for a Harrison County family. The family’s truck kicked out of gear Sunday morning at Five Points and rolled over a tent where two young boys were sleeping. Troopers say Jax Lattea, age 3, of Salem was killed. A six-year-old boy was treated and released.
The deadly weekend also included a shooting at the Elm Grove Pharmacy in Wheeling.
Troopers say Kevin Lee Walnoha, age 37, of Wellsburg came into the pharmacy. He jumped behind the counter, waved a gun and demanded pills from a worker. Another pharmacy worker came from a back office and shot and killed Walnoha. The investigation continues.
Troopers also assisted Charleston City Police in the recovery of a body from the Elk River. The man was murdered. And State Police is the lead investigative agency into a quadruple murder in Nicholas County.
Spencer: Teacher Injured
Update 05.25.12 1:30 PM:
A state official says a fourth grade teacher at Spencer Elementary School in Roane County was not beaten by students Thursday.
“The initial investigation shows the reports that the teacher was attacked are not true. It appears the incident was horseplay that got out of hand,“ West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications Director Liza Cordeiro said.
“Because this is a personnel issue and students are involved, we cannot say more right now, but we will release more information when we can do so.“
4th grade students dressing in ninja suite just jump on their 4th grade teacher dropping her on the ground.
The teacher was treated for an undisclosed injury and released from Charleston Area Medical Center after the incident involving several students.
On Thursday, State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said troopers at the Spencer detachment were aware of the incident. No charges have been filed.
The West Virginia State Police say they are prepared to respond when asked in connection with an incident Thursday, May 24, 2012 at Spencer Elementary School.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Baylous says a fourth-grade teacher at the school was injured after several of her students allegedly beat her.
The school has been having outdoor activities all week.
As part of the activities three 4th grade students dressing in ninja suite jump on their 4th grade teacher dropping her on the ground.
Reports indicate she had to go to the local emergency room and then to Charleston (CMAC) where she was treated and released.
Of the fourth-grade teachers listed on the county schools website, Ann Carper was the only one listed as a patient at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston Thursday.
A hospital spokeswoman said Carper had been treated and released.
Sgt. Baylous says troopers at the Spencer detachment are aware of the situation and will get involved if the situation reaches that point.
Elkins: Lena Lunsford Sentencing Set For Tuesday 05.22.12
Sentencing for Lunsford is set for 2:30 PM Tuesday afternoon, May 22. 2012. in the U.S. Northern District Court of West Virginia for Lena Lunsford.
Lunsford, age 29, pleaded guilty in January to a single count of federal welfare fraud.
Lunsford had been charged with six counts of federal welfare fraud for selling her Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP card.
As part of the plea agreement five of those counts were dismissed.
Prosecutors say she sold $114 dollars’ worth of welfare benefits.
The welfare fraud came to light during the FBI’s investigation into the disappearance of her three-year-old daughter Aliayah.
Aliyah disappeared from her Lewis Count home in September and there has not been any sign of her since.
Authorities have had very few leads, no suspects, made no arrests and have refused to speculate as to what may have happened to the little girl.
Volunteer search efforts have continued, including Joe “The Bloodhound” Nick and Hunter Glass coming to West Virginia in effort to find the girl.
Lunsford is facing a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution.
Lunsford is currently free on bond.
OddlyEnough™: Man Bitten by Rattlesnake at Walmart
When Mica Craig reached down to brush what he thought was a stick off some mulch in the garden section of a Washington state Walmart, it turned around and sank its fangs into his hand.
The encounter with a rattlesnake sent Craig, age 47, to the hospital, where he said he remained in excruciating pain and may lose feeling in two fingers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has apologized.
“I reached down to grab the stick to move it out of the way, and the snake stretched out, turned around and got its fangs in my right hand,“ he said. “I slung it off and I did a tap dance on it until it was dead.“
Craig was rushed to the hospital by fellow customer Maria Geffre, who told Reuters she saw him crumple to the ground after crying out that he had been bitten by a snake.
“He had punctures on his hand and there was the dead rattler he’d stomped on,“ Geffre said, describing the snake as at least a foot long with four buttons, or rattles.
Craig, a married father of two, said the mulch was for his marijuana plants, which he is licensed to grow for medical reasons. It was unclear whether the snake came from an adjacent field or arrived at the store along with garden supplies.
Craig said doctors who initially thought the snake had inflicted only a “dry bite” - or one that did not inject venom - treated him with six bags of anti-venom after his right hand swelled to the size of a melon.
A Walmart spokeswoman offered an apology to Craig and said the retailer was looking into how the incident could have happened at the store in Clarkston, in eastern Washington.
“At this point, it appears to be an isolated incident. We are working with a pest management team, which is conducting a sweep of the property to ensure there is no additional rattlesnake activity,“ Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said.
Travis Taggart, director of the Center for North American Herpetology, said about half of documented rattlesnake bites, which are usually defensive when directed at humans, are “dry” but still cause severe pain.
Ritchie County: Woman Flown to Hospital
The West Virginia State Police in Ritchie County are working to find out what caused an accident that sent one woman to the hospital Friday afternoon, May 04, 2012.
The woman was driving on Oxford Road when she somehow lost control of a motorcycle and ran into a tree.
She was being flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital for her injuries.
Ritchie County Man Dies in Lewis County Accident
Ryan Meredith Scott, age 29, of Smithville, Ritchie County, WV, lost control of the vehicle and drove off the left side of the road, rolled over and rested on its top resulting in loss of his life.
The accident happened late Friday, April 20, 2012 on U.S. Highway 33 in Lewis County.
Scott was trapped in the vehicle and later died at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.
Accidental Death Rate for Children Declines in West Virginia
Fewer West Virginia children and teenagers are dying from accidental injuries than in the past.
A new government report shows that in West Virginia the death rate from accidents for youths ages 19 and younger fell 43% from 2000 to 2009.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 54 children died from accidents in West Virginia in 2009. That is down from 98 in 2000.
Nationally, the number dropped about 26% from 12,441 in 2000 to 9,143 in 2009.
The national annual accidental death rate among children fell about 29%.
Officials say unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among youth and are preventable.
Those injuries include motor vehicle deaths, suffocation, downing, poisoning, and fires or burns.
Daily G-Eye™: 04.15.12
80 + year old woman was hit by a car in the parking lot of the new dollar general store in Glenville at 3:45PM 04.14.12
Submit photos for this daily feature. You may select to have your name listed as well.
Send your photo(s) to “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Clay County: Murder-Suicide
West Virginia State Police in Clay County are investigating an apparent murder-suicide.
The State Police was called to a house on Darnell Hollow Road Friday morning, April 13, 2012 and found a man and his wife dead.
Troopers say Francis Bishop, age 49, was on the front porch and her husband, Erving Bishop, age 57 was in the house.
Trooper S.L. Bass says it appears Erving shot and killed his wife sometime early Friday morning and then took his own life.
Francis Bishop was shot in the back.
Trooper Bass says an eight-year-old granddaughter was in a back bedroom when it all happened.
She says she heard two loud bangs.
“It’s just one of those unfortunate events that a child of that age would have to discover something like that,“ Bass said.
Troopers say the Bishops were in the process of getting a divorce.
Braxton County Man Drowns in Wisconsin Lake
A West Virginia man drowned in a Wisconsin lake last weekend.
The Dane County, Wisconsin Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Larry Friend Thursday, April 05, 2012.
The 56-year-old Larry Friend lived in Braxton County.
His body was pulled from Lake Mendota near Madison, Wisconsin last Sunday, April 01, 2012.
His body was discovered floating 10 to 15 feet off the shoreline at James Madison Park at shortly after 1:00 AM.
The medical examiner says other tests results are pending.
The death is being investigated by the Madison Police Department.
Best Wishes to Gilmer County Magistrate Carol Wolfe
We would like to wish Magistrate Carol Wolfe a speedy recovery following her accident this week.
While campaigning, she fell down some steps and injured both her wrists.
Dr. Snead of Weston treated Magistrate Wolfe and put a cast on her right wrist which was definitely broken.
If the wrist heals properly Magistrate Wolfe will wear a cast for a month, if not, she will have surgery next Wednesday.
Weston: FBI Gives Update on Missing Lewis County Girl
The FBI has a working theory about what happened to a 3-year-old Lewis County girl who vanished six months ago, and it doesn’t involve a break-in.
FBI agent John Hambrick will not say what that theory is, or whether he believes Aliayah Lunsford is still alive.
But Hambrick said Thursday at a news conference in Weston that there is no evidence to support a break-in as a theory.
Aliayah disappeared from her Bendale home Saturday, September 24, 2011, and there has been no sign of her since.
Last week, Lena Lunsford’s attorney said she believes there is no way her daughter wandered off.
Hambrick says even though police do not speak publicly about the case often, they are aggressively pursuing it every day.
However, the FBI Special Agent will say one theory has been totally dismissed.
“There was some concern or a theory that was out there early on in the investigation that someone might have broken into the house and that was associated with Aliayah’s disappearance,“ Hambrick said.
“The investigation, to date, has revealed no information whatsoever to indicate that there was a break in or a home invasion or anything of the sort.“
“We are receiving leads daily,“ Hambrick said. “We’ve received 125 to 150 tips, most of them through the West Virginia Fusion Center which has been a tremendous help in this matter.“
Hambrick says investigators have spent hours analyzing evidence in the case have developed a working theory about what happened to Lunsford.
At this point, though, they are not talking about the theory publicly and will not say whether they believe Lunsford is still alive.
Tips are accepted through the West Virginia Fusion Center at www.fusioncenterwv.gov or 304.558.4831.
Lewis County Man Sues Springfield Armory, Individuals for Gun Shot
A Lewis County man is suing Springfield Armory for a gun shot he sustained while at a friend’s residence.
Devon McCartney and James E. McCartney were also named as defendants in the suit.
On March 05, 2010, Joshua Shane Davisson was visiting the home of William H. McCartney with his friend Vernon Groves when Devon McCartney came to visit the residence, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Davisson claims Devon McCartney and/or James McCartney are the owner(s) of a .40 caliber Springfield Armory XD-40 Subcompact pistol.
Devon McCartney negligently and carelessly transported the loaded gun from James McCartney’s home to the home of William McCartney and negligently and carelessly handled the gun causing it to discharge into Davisson, according to the suit.
Davisson claims as a result of the defendants’ negligence, he was shot in the sternum with the bullet ultimately becoming lodged in his left thigh.
James McCartney negligently permitted Devon McCartney to access the gun without verifying that they had the requisite knowledge to handle and/or disassemble the gun in a safe manner, according to the suit.
Davisson is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest.
He is being represented by Timothy J. Manchin and Taylor B. Downs.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 12-C-148
~~ Kyla Asbury - WV Record ~~
Mystery Lingers around Weston, WV Girl Missing 6 Months
The mother of a 3-year-old girl who vanished from her West Virginia home six months ago last Saturday believes that her daughter is still alive and prays daily for her safe return, her attorney said last Friday.
Lena Lunsford doesn’t know what happened to daughter Aliayah or where she is, but Mike Woelfel said she refuses to give up hope and continues to cooperate with investigators.
“Lena is convinced that no blood relative of Aliayah knows what has happened to her. Nor was she involved in any way with her disappearance,“ he told The Associated Press.
Asked whether Lunsford believes a non-blood relative may have been involved, Woelfel said only, “She doesn’t know what has happened to Aliayah.“
She has, however, recently filed for divorce from her husband, Ralph Keith Lunsford.
She has been living with her mother for months under a judge’s order and is currently awaiting sentencing for federal welfare fraud.
But the lawyer said Lena’s mother died about two weeks ago.
Aliayah vanished from her Lewis County home near Bendale on Saturday, September 24, 2011, and there has been no sign of her since.
Lunsford, age 29, told police her daughter was in bed at 6:30 AM but was gone when she checked on her later.
Aliayah was about 3 feet tall and 35 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
She was last seen wearing purple pajama bottoms and a pink sweat shirt.
Based on the configuration of the door, the doorway and the doorsteps, Woelfel said he and Lena Lunsford have concluded “there is no way the child could have simply wandered off from the home. No way.“
“A child that age, that size, with the dexterity of a child that age,“ he said, “... it’s all but physically impossible to have just been a simple walk-off.
“I’m not saying it’s an impossibility,“ he added, “but we don’t believe that happened.“
Authorities have said they are treating Aliayah’s disappearance as a crime, but they have named no suspects, made no arrests and refused to say what they think happened.
Neither the West Virginia State Police nor the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department responded to messages Friday.
FBI spokesman Bill Crowley acknowledged public interest in the case but would not comment on the investigation.
He said the FBI will likely hold a press conference next week to bring the public up to date.
In a hearing related to the fraud charges last fall, however, Ralph Lunsford suggested he has been the focus of at least some scrutiny.
He told a judge he had “been questioned by authorities day after day for the last month or two.“
He has repeatedly declined to speak to the media.
At the time of the disappearance, Lena Lunsford was eight months pregnant with twins and had four other children, from 9 months to 11 years old. She has since delivered the two girls.
Lena pleaded guilty in January to selling $114 worth of credit on her food stamp card for $50 cash.
She had been indicted on multiple counts in October, accused of swapping for cash five times in two months.
U.S. Magistrate John Kaull ordered her to live apart from her husband in November after he admitted buying and using synthetic drugs called bath salts.
Lena has only issued one brief statement until now. Woelfel said granting interviews would be counterproductive to the investigation, but she believes authorities are handling the case appropriately and appreciates their work.
“Who would have abducted this child, and why,“ he said, “that’s a mystery.“
Clay County: Hunting Accident Claims Life
A high school boy is dead after an apparent hunting accident from the weekend in Clay County.
West Virginia State Police say Dillon Dawson, age 15, was shot and killed back on Saturday afternoon, March 10, 2012, by an elderly relative.
The shooting happened about Noon Saturday in the community of Nebo.
Troopers indicate the boy may have been checking or installing a trail camera and the shooter mistook him for a coyote.
Dawson was shot in the forehead.
The investigation has been turned over to Natural Resources Police who are being very tight-lipped about any of the circumstances of the incident.
“This is still very early in the investigation and we’re still trying to figure out what happened,“ said DNR Captain Mike Waugh. “We’re still waiting for information from the State Police lab and still waiting on information from the Medical Examiner. Until we get that, we’re not going to be able to make a determination on what happened.“
So far no charges have been filed against the alleged shooter. Wall would not confirm the relation between the boy and the shooter. Published reports indicate it was the victim’s great uncle.
Dawson was a freshman at Clay County High School.
The student body was informed of his death on Monday and counselors were on hand to help break the news.
A vigil was set for 6:00 PM Tuesday evening at the school to remember the teen.
Volunteers Continue Search for Missing Weston Little Girl
Volunteers searching for a missing 3-year-old Lewis County girl are focusing on a dam near the child’s home.
Media outlets report that a dive team searched the water near the Bendale Dam on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 after members of a group called Aliayah’s (uh LEE uh’s) Army reported finding something suspicious with an underwater camera.
They would not say what they found.
The dive team did not find anything Tuesday.
The volunteers have called off the search until later this week due to inclement weather.
Aliayah Lunsford vanished from her Bendale home on Saturday, September 24, 2011.
Authorities have classified her disappearance as a crime but have made no arrests and named no suspects.
G-Comm™: Making Sense of School Shootings
On February 27, 2012, a teenager—reportedly a victim of bullying and something of a social outcast—walked into a Cleveland high school and opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students and wounding three others. The teenager, identified as T.J. Lane, has been taken into police custody. Now media pundits are speculating on who or what is to blame for this latest spate of violence.
Yet we’ve been caught in the grip of a cycle of school violence that started almost 20 years ago. It was February 1997 when a 16-year-old Alaskan boy pulled out a shotgun and killed his principal and another student. Two years later, on April 20, 1999, two teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire on classmates and teachers at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and one teacher and leaving 24 others wounded.
Then, on October 10, 2006, a 13-year-old seventh grade boy, apparently fascinated with the 1999 Columbine High School bloodbath, carried an assault rifle into his Joplin, Missouri middle school. Dressed in a dark green trench coat and wearing a mask, he pointed the rifle at fellow students and fired a shot into the ceiling before the weapon jammed. This was no spur-of-the-moment act. It was a planned attack. The student’s backpack contained military manuals, instructions on assembling an improvised explosive device and detailed drawings of the school. Moments before he fired the rifle, the boy said to a school administrator: “Please don’t make me do this.”
The outbreak of school shootings that have taken place over the past two decades have forced school officials, public leaders and parents to search for ways to prevent further bloodshed. In their attempts to make the schools safer, students have been forced to deal with draconian zero tolerance policies, heightened security, routine locker checks, guard dogs, metal detectors and numerous other invasions of their property and privacy.
Despite the precautions (all of which have proven to be altogether ineffective), other student-led shooting sprees and bloodshed followed, culminating with the most recent incident. To be sure, the instinctive response to this latest school shooting will be to appease parents by adopting measures that provide the appearance of increased security. However, enacting tighter zero tolerance policies and installing more metal detectors in the schools will do little to advance the dialogue on why such shootings happen in the first place.
One thing is clear: there are no easy solutions. In fact, there’s so much that we don’t know about school shooters. For example, a 2002 U.S. Secret Service report on school violence, based on interviews with students who had planned and executed school shootings, found that there is no profile for a school shooter. Shooters come from many types of families and from all incomes, races and academic backgrounds. And there are no easy explanations—such as mental illness, drugs or video games—for their actions..
Moreover, as the Secret Service report found, the shooters plan their shootings in advance. They “did not snap.” According to the report, most shooters told their friends what they were planning. But the friends neither reported what they had been told nor tried to stop the shooters. And when the Secret Service asked former school shooters what they would have done if a teacher had asked them what was wrong, the shooters said they would have told the adult the truth, including their plans. But are we adults listening? As one school shooter recalls, “Most of them don’t care. I just felt like nobody cared. I just wanted to hurt them.”
In struggling to understand the teenage mind—and find some motivation for the rash of school shootings of the past several years—public leaders have targeted everything from the negative influence of movies to music to violent video games. Now the scapegoat seems to be bullying and peer pressure.
Evidently, something more sinister than disgruntled students is at work here. While there are conditions—such as peer pressure, low self-esteem, childhood abuse, etc.—that can trigger or facilitate violent behavior, we’re facing a crisis that goes much deeper, one that has as much to do with a lack of spirituality and morality as it does with education, relationships and culture.
Young people have unfortunately become the casualties of our age. They know that something is dreadfully wrong, but many adults, busy trying to make ends meet and keep pace with the demands of work and raising a family, often do not hear when the kids scream for help. For example, at least one in 10 young people now believe life is not worth living. A 2009 survey of 16- to 25-year-olds by the Prince’s Trust found “a significant core” for whom life had little or no purpose, especially among those not in school, work or training. More than a quarter of those polled felt depressed and were less happy than when they were younger. And almost “half said they were regularly stressed and many did not have anything to look forward to or someone they could talk to about their problems.“
Paul Brown, director of communications at the Prince’s Trust, noted that the study showed that there are thousands of young people who “desperately” need help: “Often, young people who feel they have reached rock bottom don’t know where to turn for help.“ Family relationships help, but too often because of the fractured modern family, little support can be found in the family setting.
Indeed, our young people are members of a lost generation—raised in a world where life has little to no value, the almighty dollar takes precedence and values are taught by primetime sitcoms and Saturday morning cartoons. They are being raised by television and the Internet and nourished on fast food. They are seeking comfort wherever they can find it—in sex, drugs, music, each other. They are searching for hope and finding few answers to their questions about the meaning of life.
More so than any previous generation, young people are growing up in an age of overwhelming mass media, mixed messages and multitasking. The average American child lives in a house with 2.9 TVs, 1.8 VCRs, 3.1 radios, 2.6 tape players, 2.1 CD players and a computer. Forty-two percent of American homes are “constant TV households,” meaning that a set is on most of the time. The average American watches television about four hours per day, and it consumes 40 percent of his or her free time.
Gone is the innocence of childhood. In a multitude of ways, children have been adultified, and their childhood is disappearing. Today’s young people often know more about sex, drugs and violence than their adult counterparts. By the year 2000, 25 percent of U.S. teens were involved with weapons; 70 percent admitted cheating on tests in school; more than 15 percent had shown up for class drunk; and five million children—including three-year-olds—were regularly left home alone to care for themselves. As University of Edinburgh professor Stuart Aitken writes, “In short, the sense of a so-called disappearance of childhood is, in actuality, about the loss of a stable, seemingly natural foundation for social life that is clearly linked not only to laments over the lost innocence of childhood, but also a growing anger at and fear of young people.”
No wonder life seems so meaningless to so many. According to a June 2009 study, 15 percent of American teens who were in 7th through 12th grades believe they will die before age 35—a perspective strongly linked to risky behavior. Activities related to such a pessimistic view of the future include attempting suicide, using illegal drugs, sustaining fight-related injuries that require medical care, engaging in unprotected sex, being arrested by the police and contracting HIV or AIDS.
Wherever these young people turn, life is chaotic—wars, violence, environmental crises, oil depletion and terrorism, to name a few. Children are confronted on a daily basis with issues, images and material of all sorts—abortion, drugs, alcohol, pornography—and preyed upon by sexual predators, marketing mavens, even the government. Although teenagers can cope with a number of emotional hazards, with each additional hazard introduced, their resilience—like soldiers in combat too long—diminishes to such an extent that breakdowns are imminent. As Cornell University professor James Gabarino recognizes, one of the key factors leading to violence is a “spiritual emptiness” that brings on a feeling of not being connected to anything, of having no limits for behavior and no reverence for life.
Dr. James P. Comer, professor of psychiatry at Yale University’s Child Study Center, suggests that in order to treat the damage done to the next generation, “We’re going to have to work at systematically recreating the critical elements of community that once existed naturally. We can’t go back to the past, but there was a time when people cared about each other and would look out for each other.”
Is anyone listening?
~~ John Whitehead ~~
Mobile 1 death in 2008Alaska
Madison 1 death in 2010
Huntsville 3 deaths in 2010
Bethel 2 deaths in 1997
Jonesboro 5 deaths in 1998California
Fayetteville 2 deaths in 2000
Conway 2 deaths in 2008
Fullerton 7 deaths in 1976
San Diego 2 deaths in 1979
Stockton 6 deaths in 1989
Olivehurst 8 deaths in 1992
Reseda 1 death in 1993
San Diego 3 deaths in 1996
Santee 2 deaths in 2001
El Cajon no deaths in 2001
Oxnard 1 death in 2008
San Bruno no deaths in 2009
Antioch no deaths in 2009
Littleton 1 death in 1982Connecticut
Littleton 15 deaths in 1999
Bailey 2 deaths in 2006
Jefferson County 0 deaths in 2010
Portland 1 death in 1982Delaware
Middletown 1 death in 2009
Dover 1 death in 2007
Largo 1 death in 1988Georgia
Lake Worth 1 death in 2000
Fort Lauderdale 1 death in 2008
Scottdale 1 death in 1996Illinois
Conyers no deaths in 1999
Atlanta 1 death in 2009
Winnetka 1 death in 1988Iowa
Chicago 1 death in 1992
DeKalb 6 deaths in 2008
Iowa City 6 deaths in 1991
Goddard 1 death in 1985
Grayson 2 deaths in 1993Louisiana
Paducah 3 deaths in 1997
New Orleans 1 death in 2003Massachusetts
Baton Rouge 3 deaths in 2008
Larose 1 deaths in 2009
Great Barrington 2 deaths in 1993Michigan
Cambridge 1 death in 2009
Mount Morris Township 1 death in 2000Minnesota
Detroit 1 death in 2008
Dearborn 2 deaths in 2009
Cold Spring 2 deaths in 2003Mississippi
Red Lake 8 deaths in 2005
Jackson 2 deaths in 1970Missouri
Pearly 2 deaths in 1997
Manchester 2 deaths in 1983
Reno no deaths in 2006
Florham 2 deaths in 2004
Olean 3 deaths in 1974North Carolina
Amityville 1 death in 1993
Manhattan no deaths in 2002
East Greenbush no deaths in 2004
Fayetteville no deaths in 1986Ohio
Greensboro 1 death in 1994
Hillsborough 1 death in 2006
Kent 4 deaths in 1970Oklahoma
Wickliffe 1 death in 1994
Cleveland 1 death in 2003
Cleveland 1 death in 2007
Columbus 2 deaths in 2010
Fort Gibson no deaths in 1999
Springfield 2 deaths in 1998
State College 1 death in 1996South Carolina
Edinboro 1 death in 1998
Red Lion 2 deaths in 2003
Nickel Mines 6 deaths in 2006
Orangeburg 3 deaths in 1968Tennessee
Blackville 2 deaths in 1995
Lynnville 2 deaths in 1995Texas
Jacksboro 1 death in 2005
Memphis no deaths in 2008
Knoxville 1 death in 2008
Austin 15 deaths in 1966Vermont
Amarillo no deaths in 1992
Essex 2 deaths in 2006
Chesapeake 1 death in 1988Washington
Grundy 3 deaths in 2002
Blacksburg 33 deaths in 2007
Woodbridge 1 death in 2009
Moses Lake 3 deaths in 1996Wisconsin
Tacoma 1 death in 2007
Seattle 2 deaths in 2007
Tacoma 1 death in 2010
Wauwatosa 1 death in 1993
Cazenovia 1 death in 2006
Death Toll Rises to 3 in Ohio School Shooting
A Cleveland hospital says another student wounded in an Ohio high school shooting has died, bringing the death toll to three.
MetroHealth System said Tuesday that Demetrius Hewlin died Tuesday morning.
He had been in critical condition.
Hewlin was a student at Chardon High School.
He was among several shot by a gunman in the school cafeteria Monday morning.
Hewlin’s family says in a statement he was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends.
The teenage suspect faces a juvenile court hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Daily G-Eye™: 02.23.12
Another view of Fairman’s truck accident due to wind gust according to reports
Submit photos for this daily feature. You may select to have your name listed as well.
Send your photo(s) to “email@example.com”
Gilmer County: ATV Accident Claims Life in Lower Big Run
It happened Wednesday afternoon, February 08, 2012.
Leonard Lee Greenlief of Lower Big Run Rd off Sinking Creek Road in Cox’s Mill, WV died at 4:16 PM when his ATV rolled off.
Greenlief who was not wearing a helmet at the time of accident often used the ATV to check the mail.
PPP Recovery Group Founder Wants To Bring Weston Community Back Together
Two national search teams arrived in Weston on Monday.
Joe “The Bloodhound” Nick and the PPP Recovery Group were called in by relatives of the missing girl to ignite more interest in her recovery.
Rachel Jackson is the founder of PPP Recovery Group. She says this is one missing persons case that grabbed her attention.
Forty volunteers showed up Tuesday to begin the search.
Jackson says they are looking in areas that have already been covered and some that have not.
Lending a helping paw is search dog Mia who belongs to Joe Nick.
“We’re doing grid searches. As people find things that might be of interest, we have Mia,” Jackson said. “[Joe Nick] will run her through to see if they have bones and see if they’re just deer bones. At this point we have nothing.“
But since arriving in town, Jackson says her phone has been ringing.
“Several people feel very comfortable calling me or my team where they’re afraid to call law enforcement,” she said. “And we are able to get a lot more information from people right now.“
Aliayah disappeared on September 24, 2011.
Her mother Lena was the last to see her when she checked in on her around 6:30 AM.
A massive search involving law enforcement, the FBI and volunteers lasted more than three weeks after the girl’s disappearance but turned up nothing.
Jackson says it’s time to reignite the community and get them back out there.
A candle light vigil was set for Wednesday evening in Weston to bring the community back together to work in a positive way to find this little girl.
Jackson believes they can reunite Aliayah with her family.
“I’m not going to give up hope. If I gave up hope, I wouldn’t be here,” Jackson said.
Jackson says they are looking for more volunteers to help them with their search.
They can use greeters, folks to make meals, do paperwork or go out with one of the search groups.
GFP - 02.09.2012
~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~
Print This Article
Weston: Single Vehicle Rollover on I-79
A Pennsylvania driver who was traveling on I-79 spun out the road and struck the hillside before flipping over multiple times, Wednesday morning February 08, 2012.
The accident which happen near exit 99 in Weston cause the sedan to finally land on the guardrail.
Then the sedan caught fire and a passing truck driver stopped and used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
The West Virginia State Police is investigating the accident.
Two National Groups Begin Work in Lewis County - FBI Not Part Of New Lunsford Search
The search is back on for missing 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford.
Four and a half months after the little girl was last seen, family members contacted two national search groups to come to Lewis County and bring fresh eyes to the case.
Dozens of people joined the PPP Recovery Group and Joe “The Bloodhound” Nick on Tuesday for a ground search.
Their goal is to find any evidence that might lead them to Aliayah.
The search teams plan to be in town through the week.
Meanwhile, the FBI is not a part of this latest attempt to locate Aliayah.
Special Agent Rob Ambrosini says that does not mean they have given up on Aliayah.
“We will, of course, work with [the family] if they find a lead or something is generated as a result of their search,” he said. “We’ll look at that lead and pursue it as far as we can take it.“
Meanwhile, the FBI, WV State Police, WV Fusion Center and local law enforcement are still on the case.
However, Ambrosini says the information he can give out is limited.
“Right now the details of the investigation I can’t go into. But we very much are a part of it,” he said. “We have a great working relationship with the State Police and local investigators to try and bring this to some kind of resolution.“
Aliayah was last seen on the morning of Saturday, September 24, 2012.
Her mother Lena Lunsford says she checked in on her daughter around 6:30 AM. That was the last time anyone saw her.
Since Aliayah’s disappearance, her parents have declined to talk to the media.
Lena Lunsford has since been charged with selling her food stamps.
She pleaded guilty to one count of welfare fraud last month.
She is currently free on bond.
Her six other children, including twins born after Aliayah’s disappearance, are all in foster care.
WVSP: Man Dies from Tainted Moonshine; Don’t Drink It
The death of a man in Doddridge County has sparked a police investigation and troopers want you to be safe.
A man in his 60’s died this week at Ruby Memorial Hospital, supposedly after drinking poisoned moonshine he got in the county.
WV State Police Troopers say the unidentified man drank from a bottle of moonshine he got from a friend last Saturday night.
He was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital after what was believed to be stroke symptoms.
He died at the hospital this week.
After testing and investigations, it was determined that the tainted moonshine shut down the man’s internal organs.
Troopers say you take a risk drinking illegally made moonshine because there’s no guarantee that it meets the safety regulations of the FDA.
“You don’t know what they’re putting in it. You don’t know how they’re creating it or producing it. So when you get something from the store, obviously it’s had to meet the standards of the US government and the FDA. Illegal moonshine is dangerous. You have to really be careful when you get things like this. We’ve had several poisoning cases in the past and that’s just a risk you don’t need to take,“ says Sgt. Wayne Vessels.
Investigators believe they know where the moonshine came from but they’re working to stop any more from getting to the public.
If you bought moonshine recently in the Doddridge County area, you do not need to call the state police but troopers are advising you not to drink it.
FBI Says It Remains on Case of Missing Lewis County Girl
Lewis County residents frustrated by lack of information about a girl missing for nearly four months want law enforcement to give them an update.
WDTV says they have issued an open letter, complaining that little is being done to find 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford.
They are also concerned about the safety of their own children.
The letter contends the FBI has quit investigating the September 24, 2011, disappearance, but Special Agent William Crowley said yesterday that is untrue.
Crowley says the FBI would offer updates if they were beneficial to the case. But right now, they are not.
He says the investigation is in a different stage now, and different tactics are required.
Authorities have made no arrests and named no suspects in Aliayah’s disappearance.
Nor have they said what they believe happened to her.
Lewis County: One Dead after Two Car Crash
Marcella Jamison, 56, was traveling west on US Highway 33 in a Pontiac Sunfire when it crossed the center line into the east bound lane.
Jamison’s vehicle then struck a dodge neon operated by Henry Jenkins, 75, who was heading east on US Highway 33.
Lou Ann Jenkins, 56, the passenger in the dodge neon, sustained serious injuries and was dead at the scene, deputies said.
Both drivers were transported to Stonewall Jackson Memorial hospital and later transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital, according to the news release.
One person died after an accident in Lewis County Thursday morning, January 12, 2012 about 11:00 AM when two cars collided on WV Highway 33 West between Pickle Street and the Gilmer County line.
No further details available, however, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, the Midway, Pricetown , and Weston Fire Departments responded to the crash.
GFP - 01.13.2012
~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~
Print This Article
Restaurant in West Union Catches Fire
T & J’s restaurant on Main Street in West Union, Doddridge County caught on fire early Thursday evening, December 22, 2011.
The fire started in a kitchen oven, just before 5:00 PM.
Attempts were made to put the fire out by those in the restaurant before calling 911.
Volunteers from four fire department responded to the fire.
There were several customers eating when the fire broke out, but everyone made it out safely.
According to officials, the restaurant’s cooking equipment suffered the most damage.
G-otcha™: Doug Morris from Glenville Charged with DUI
On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, The Gilmer County Sheriff Deputy Ben Huffman was dispatched to a single-vehicle Motor-Vehicle-Accident at approximately 5:00 AM on WV Highway 5 west, near Gilmer-Calhoun county line.
According to Gilmer County Sheriff Mickey Metz, he responded to the vehicle accident as well since he lives about 1.5 miles from the accident.
When Deputy Huffman arrived on the scene, he asked Sheriff Metz who was in the car accident. Sheriff Metz advised Deputy Huffman that he had not seen the driver, but the driver was at the residence just down from the accident.
Deputy Huffman went to the house and identified the driver as Douglas Shane Morris from Glenville, WV.
At this time The Gilmer County EMS was on scene helping Morris because he was complaining about his back hurting.
Shortly after, the victim was transported to Minnie Hamilton in Grantsville, WV to be treated for injuries.
The toxicology report request by Deputy Huffman which was sent to him on December 15, 2011 by Minnie Hamilton showed that Douglas Morris tested positive for THC, Benzodiazepine, Amphetamine, and Opiates.
A DUI charge was file in Gilmer County Magistrate Court by Sheriff Deputy Huffman against Morris on Monday, December 19, 2011.
The complaint notes: Any person who drives a vehicle in WV while he or she is under the influence of controlled substance is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, except as provided in section two-b of this article, shall be confined in jail for up to six months and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars not more than five hundred dollars. Violation of W.Va State Code 17C-5-2(d)(B).
Copyright MMVIII-MMXIV The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved