Police believe they've discovered the decomposing body of a West Virginia teen who hadn't been seen since earlier this month. The teen's mother's boyfriend has since been accused of the killing.
A corpse was found by officers of the West Virginia Natural Resources Police on the morning of May 16 in a mountainous area of Berkeley County, West Virginia. The discovery triggered the arrest of 41-year-old Andy J. McCauley, Jr., who was a suspect in the case of missing 15-year-old Riley Crossman.
Police are not yet certain that the body is that of Riley Crossman. In a press release, Sheriff Bohrer says that law enforcement is "very confident" that the body is that of Crossman's but an autopsy performed on the morning of May 17 could officially confirm their suspicions, according to WHSV of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Crossman had been reported missing on the morning of May 8 after her mother learned she had not showed up for school. Crossman's boyfriend confirmed he had communicated with Riley via Facetime that day. In the following week, local, federal, and state agencies partnered in the search for the girl amidst a separate police search for potential suspects. Additionally, over three hundred volunteers helped to search for Crossman on May 15.
McCauley had been under police surveillance since Crossman had vanished. His presence was requested at a West Virginia State Police office after the body was found. He was arrested upon arrival. Police confirmed he will be charged with murder, although the specific charge has not yet been decided.
Police have confirmed that McCauley is the boyfriend of Crossman's mother.
Police say they have no other reason to suspect anyone else was involved in the death.
A prayer vigil was held in Crossman's memory on May 16. Josh Rider, a former teacher of Crossman's, remembered his student fondly.
"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," said Rider, who also is a pastor, according to The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland. "We come today acknowledging that we have lost an individual that we loved, but we come together as a family, and as a community and we are binded together by the Lord and the love that we have for one another," Rider said.
Counseling has been made available for Crossman's classmates at Berkeley Springs High School, according to CNN.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office at 304-258-1067 or 911.
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