Missing W. Va. Girl, 15, Is Found Dead as Mom’s Boyfriend Is Charged: 'She Was a Sweetheart'
The body of a West Virginia teen who’d been missing for more than a week was found on a steep cliff near the top of a mountain Thursday night, and police allege her mom’s boyfriend killed her.
On Thursday, Andy McCauley, 41, of Berkeley Springs, was charged with the murder of Riley Crossman, 15, also of Berkeley Springs, Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer announced at a press conference Thursday.
McCauley had been “a suspect since day one,” Bohrer said, local station WHSV reports.
McCauley has not yet entered a plea and remains held at the Morgan County Jail.
It is unclear if he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
Police have not yet discussed a possible motive or disclosed the details surrounding Riley’s death.
On May 8, her mother reported her daughter missing when she failed to show up at Berkeley Springs High School, the sheriff said in a release.
It's been almost a week since Morgan County teen Riley Crossman was first reported missing. There will be a coordinated search effort on Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. https://t.co/c2VAWDxSVU— WDVM-TV (@WDVMTV) May 13, 2019
Police launched a massive search as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from surrounding towns and an army of volunteers helped them look for Riley in vacant buildings, abandoned vehicles, the woods and bodies of water, the release says.
On Thursday morning, after a large search, her body was found “positioned over an embankment in a rural mountain road section of Tuscarora Pike near the mountain top,” Bohrer said, West Virginia Metro News reports.
The West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy on Friday to positively identify the body, confirm the cause of death and to determine how long the body had been on the cliff, local station WHSV reports.
Hours after Riley’s remains were found, state police took McCauley into custody in Martinsburg, West Virginia Metro News reports.
Bohrer said at the press conference that before his arrest, McCauley had been under surveillance at his job site.
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On Thursday night, a prayer vigil was held in Riley’s memory at Berkeley Springs State Park.
“She was able to love, show compassion to kids, that I wish all students could do at her age when I had her in sixth grade,” her former teacher, Josh Rider, who is a pastor, said, the Herald-Media reports.
Riley’s friends and classmates spoke about how much she meant to them.
“She was a sweetheart to me,” her friend, Elizabeth Tasker, told the Herald-Media.
“She always had a way … to put a smile on my face. I could tell her anything and she kept it between us.”