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A missing West Virginia woman’s remains have been discovered in a well on a secluded farm after the murder suspect's girlfriend led investigators to the area.
Cheyenne Johnson, 35, was last seen alive on Thursday. Her family reported her missing on Sunday, Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said at a Monday press conference.
Between Sunday and Monday, a tip led investigators to talk to Michael Wayne Smith, 41. He allegedly "admitted to killing her and disposing of her body in a deep water well on the property," Kanawha County Chief Deputy Greg Young stated at the presser.
Johnson’s body was then found inside a well on a Sissonville area farm, according to a press release from the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. She was identified by her tattoos.
Smith allegedly told a detective he shot Johnson in the head with a rifle. He had just been released from police custody in mid-April for unrelated charges.
The tip that led to Johnson’s remains came from Smith’s girlfriend. She initially told detectives that she had overheard a man say they brought Johnson out to a woman’s farm where she was killed, West Virginia’s WCHS reports. Later, she admitted to being Smith’s girlfriend. Fearing that she would lose custody of her children, she agreed to take a detective to the well.
Investigators believe Johnson was killed on Thursday. At Monday’s presser, investigators stated that they do not think there are accomplices at this point.
A complaint, obtained by WCHS, alleges that Johnson was killed following a dispute over his girlfriend’s car. Smith claimed that the victim, who is nicknamed “Sunshine,” tried stabbing his girlfriend before he shot her.
Smith is being charged with first degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.
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