NRP officers seize cellphones, 'several illegal deer' in mass poaching case

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Feb. 3—KEYSER, W.Va. — Individual names written on deer skull plates that were planned for trophies are now considered evidence in a poaching case, which spans three West Virginia counties and crosses into Maryland.

Eight local residents, described as friends, sons and fathers, boyfriend and girlfriend, are alleged to have committed various hunting crimes.

More than 220 charges involve at least 27 antlered bucks taken illegally in Mineral, Grant and Hampshire counties in West Virginia, and parts of Maryland, from mid September to late December.

"Several names were brought up as to who was involved," one entry among several inches of stacked police reports states.

Former Mineral County deputy sheriffs Tyler Biggs and Dalton Dolly are among people charged with poaching-related crimes, and have resigned from their jobs.

Allegany County Department of Emergency Services EMS Chief Christopher Biggs, who faces felony charges, has been suspended from his job.

Others, charged with misdemeanor offenses, are Colton Broadwater, Ivy Rodehaver, Robert Horner Sr., Robert "Beau" Horner Jr. and Gregory Broadwater.

Police narratives

Reports written by West Virginia NRP officers and filed at Mineral County Magistrate Court, which withheld some details, indicate that on Nov. 5 an NRP officer received an anonymous tip that Colton Broadwater "had spotlighted and killed a large buck."

"One photo of Colton surfaced on Facebook showing him with a deer and claiming he had killed it in Maryland," the reports state.

NRP contacted a Maryland officer, who found "a discrepancy with the check in" of the deer, according to the reports.

That investigation also showed Tyler Biggs had checked in a deer within a day of Colton Broadwater's, they state.

"Photos were found of Tyler holding a large deer he claimed to have been taken in MD in the same area as Colton," according to the documents.

A search warrant was executed for Colton Broadwater's residence on Dec. 19 and "several illegal deer were recovered," they state.

Multiple cellphones were seized and a separate warrant was filed for data contained on the devices.

"Several videos were obtained depicting spotlighting and illegal kills ... as well as instant messages, Facebook messages and cellphone location details," the documents state.

On Dec. 23, Tyler Biggs asked to talk to West Virginia NRP, the reports state.

"During the recorded statement, Tyler confessed to shooting nine to 10 deer while spotlighting," the reports state and add that Tyler Biggs said his girlfriend, Rodehaver, was involved.

"(Rodehaver) admitted to killing an 8-point buck with several 'kickers,'" the reports state. "She also stated that she went out spotlighting for deer another time with Tyler Biggs and (his father) Chris Biggs."

According to the documents, Tyler Biggs also said he was with Dolly "when Dalton shot a (5-point) deer near Fort Ashby."

The following day, Tyler Biggs invited West Virginia NRP officers to his home.

"He brought out several sets of antlers," the reports state. "He did state the large set from off Route 50 were in fact taken in Hampshire County near Junction. Tyler also said that a non-typical rack that was in the set was shot by Ivy. Tyler and Ivy were asked what rifle they used. Tyler brought out a (Ruger American 243 Win) and a Mossberg 817 17 cal."

The records also state that Colton Broadwater hunted at night so very frequently that "he was starting to miss work because he was staying out so late."

On Dec. 24 as one of the NRP officers was leaving Tyler Biggs' residence, he was approached by Christopher Biggs who asked "how we can make this right," the reports state.

The officer told Christopher Biggs that because "he was seeking legal counsel and the fact that he was under duress that I was not going to take a statement from him at that time," the reports state.

"(Christopher Biggs) continued to talk after several attempts to tell him he needed to talk to a lawyer," according to the documents. "He admitted to going with Tyler spotlighting multiple times but did say he never killed a deer. He did say he checked one in for Tyler."

The officer went to a local taxidermist "and recovered the deer antlers Tyler spoke of, one of which had the name Chris Biggs written on it in black pen," the reports state. "A yellow receipt was also obtained ... with Chris Biggs' name on it and signed by Tyler Biggs."

Antlers from a cellphone photo matched those recovered from the deer at the taxidermist that Christopher Biggs had checked in, the report states.

The officer used the West Virginia licensing and game check system and verified the deer was listed as having been killed during archery season in Grant County with Christopher Biggs' name and identification number.

"Prior to checking the deer there is an agreement that you must check stating that you are in fact the one who harvested the animal," the reports state.

Unrelated allegations

In an Oct. 27 letter to the Allegany County Government Department of Human Resources, IAFF Local 1715, which represents paid full-time firefighters and emergency medical services personnel, asked for the removal of Christopher Biggs from his position as EMS chief.

Recently, Local 1715 said that this year while on a full cardiac arrest call in the Flintstone area, Christopher Biggs did not help a paramedic with patient care.

"When asked (Christopher Biggs) responded he was there to 'observe,'" the union stated. "By choosing to not assist he let the patient and his employees down and he was derelict in his duties as both a paramedic and EMS chief."

The union also said it provided county officials documents that include allegations of nepotism and state that Christopher Biggs last year removed an advanced life support provider from their job in order to fill the position with someone he was dating.

Regarding the West Virginia NRP charges against Christopher Biggs, the union stated it "feels that these charges reinforce our claim of (Christopher Biggs') lack of integrity and ethics and we stand by our vote of no confidence in his leadership."

Allegany County officials did not respond Thursday when asked for their position on the NRP charges against Biggs.

Teresa McMinn is the Digital Editor for the Cumberland Times-News. She can be reached at 304-639-2371 or