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Police salute fallen trooper as he continues to give after death

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Police saluted the body of West Virginia State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard Saturday as it was taken to an organ donation facility.

A line of State Police cruisers head north on I-79 Saturday with the body of fallen trooper Sgt. Cory Maynard. (Photo/Ben Queen)

Police officers were lined up along Interstate 79 in Clarksburg as a procession of cruisers and an ambulance carrying Maynard’s body passed by.

State Police confirmed Saturday that Maynard was an organ donor.

“Even in his death, Sergeant Maynard continues to save lives though his selfless sacrifice,” the statement said.

Sgt. Cory Maynard

Maynard, 37, was shot and killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon near Matewan. Another man, identified Saturday as Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan, was shot before troopers arrived. He’s in serious but stable condition at a Charleston hospital.

State police have charged Timothy Kennedy, 29, also of Matewan, with both shootings. He was arraigned on charges Saturday including first degree murder. He’s in the Southwestern Regional Jail without bail.

“The motive for the shooting is unknown, and the investigation remains active and ongoing,” a state police statement said Saturday.

Maynard, a native of Belfry, Kentucky, had been a trooper for 15 years. He leaves behind his wife and two children ages 13 and 9.

A memorial service is being planned for midweek.

Maynard is the first WVSP trooper killed in the line of duty since Trooper Eric Workman and Corporal Marshall Bailey were shot and killed near an Interstate 79 exit in Roane County in August 2012.

Saturday was the one year anniversary of the shooting death of Nicholas County Deputy Tom Baker.

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Kuhl, calm and collective: Winfield senior throws gem, lifts Generals to 3-0 win over Keyser in Class AA final

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Throughout the 2023 season, Winfield baseball coach Will Isaacs relied heavily on senior Dylan Kuhl for production and leadership.

So when Kuhl got off to a rocky start in Saturday’s Class AA title game against Keyser, there was no panic from the top seed Generals, nor their skipper.

Instead, they reverted to Kuhl living up to his last name, and after escaping a jam in the first inning, he found a way to wiggle out of trouble in the second despite the Golden Tornado loading the bases with no outs.

It proved pivotal and the Generals produced two third-inning runs to play from in front the rest of the way, securing their fourth state championship and first since 2002 with a 3-0 victory at GoMart Ballpark.

“He’s unquestionably our leader,” Isaacs said. “He sets the tone for toughness and he’s vocal in everything that he does. He was the guy we wanted on the mound today.”

Noah Broadwater led off with a single for KHS (21-7), and was at third following a Caden Youngblood one-out single. After Youngblood stole Keyser’s second base that inning, Kuhl induced a pop out off the bat of Logan Rotruck before he caught Patrick Liller looking for his first of seven strikeouts.

The Golden Tornado had an even bigger threat in the second when Josh Shoemaker led off with a double, Chase Davis followed with a walk and Hunter Hart singled to pack the bags.

But Kuhl never wavered as he struck out Bubba Bean for the first out. Broadwater then sent a fly ball relatively deep to center, but a base running blunder prevented Keyser from producing a sacrifice fly. 

Healy struck out for the final out of the inning. That marked the third of 12 straight batters Kuhl would retire. 

“Coach always tells us we’re going to face adversity sometime during a baseball game and I faced it early,” Kuhl said. “I had to throw strikes and let my teammates make the plays for me if they put the ball in play.

“The first two innings, my curve ball was struggling, but in the third inning, it came around and was the best it’s ever been. It worked the rest of the game.”

WHS moved in front in the home half of the third. Karson Frye’s one-out triple was followed by a Quincy Miller sacrifice bunt, and Miller brought in Frye and ended up reaching as the Golden Tornado unsuccessfully tried for the out at the plate.

Preston Keiffer’s two-out run-scoring single allowed Winfield (30-9) to double its lead.

Bumgarner belted a two-out triple to right-center in the fourth that allowed Maddox Shafer to score the Generals’ third run.

“When we had opportunities, we didn’t capitalize and when they did, they capitalized,” Keyser head coach Scott Rohrbaugh said. “It was a good game. We left guys on base and couldn’t get the hits when we needed them today.”

Still, thanks to Broadwater’s strong pitching performance, Keyser was within striking distance throughout.

Youngblood led off the sixth with a triple, but KHS was again unable to capitalize. Instead, Kuhl got Rotruck on a ground ball back to the mound before Liller lined out to first base. After Shoemaker worked a walk, Davis hit a liner too short for the final out.

“My fastball and change up are what got me here. I’m not the guy who throws the hardest, but I love generating weak contact,” Kuhl said. “When my curve ball started to come around, I knew we were going to win this ballgame.”

Winfield left the bases loaded in the sixth, but it was inconsequential as Kuhl retired all three batters he faced in the seventh to seal the outcome.

Kuhl scattered five hits and walked a pair in his memorable outing.

“Dylan was able to locate three pitches and that’s what made him effective,” Isaacs said. “When he got in those jams, he wasn’t and the ball was out over the plate and they were drilling the ball. But once he was able to get all three pitches in or near the strike zone, it put them in swing mode and we had a real advantage then.”

Shafer and Bumgarner had two hits apiece.

“We knew it was going to be extremely difficult to win this game and we’re blessed and fortunate,” Isaacs said.

Broadwater struck out eight, walked one and limited the Generals to the three runs, two of which were earned, over six innings of seven-hit ball.

Youngblood had two of the five KHS hits.

“He mixed it up and kept us off balance,” Rohrabugh said of Kuhl. “We’d either hit a weak fly ball or pop up and his off speed was working well today.”

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Carper released from hospital

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper was released from a hospital Saturday after undergoing open heart surgery two weeks ago.

Kent Carper

A statement released by the family said he would continue his recovery at home.

“The family appreciates the care he received from the doctors and staff at CAMC, as well as the care he received from the doctors and staff of WVU Medicine Thomas Memorial Hospital before he was transferred to CAMC. The family also thanks the community for the expressions of support he has received.”

Carper’s activities will be restricted for several weeks. A family spokesman said earlier this week that Carper suffered a stroke and a heart attack in the days leading up to his surgery.

Meanwhile, a Kanawha circuit judge has okayed a special prosecutor be appointed if one is needed as police continue to investigate a complaint made against Carper. A woman reported lewd activity at Daniel Boone Park.

Carper’s family has said he was sick and what happened was an “awful misunderstanding.”

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Mingo County man charged with murder of State Police trooper

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — A Mingo County man has been arraigned in connection with the fatal shooting of State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard.

Sgt. Cory Maynard

Timothy Kennedy, 29, of Matewan. was arraigned on a first degree murder charge during a video hearing Saturday morning at the Mingo County Courthouse in Williamson.

State police said in a Saturday afternoon statement that Kennedy shot Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan, with a rifle before troopers arrived. Baldwin is being treated in a Charleston hospital.

Troopers said they are still investigating a motive.

Kennedy is being held without bond at the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Troopers said Maynard was fatally wounded after responding to the initial call on Beech Creek Road. He was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where he died. Gov. Jim Justice confirmed Maynard’s death around 7 p.m. Friday.

State police took Kennedy into custody after a seven hour manhunt. He was arrested around 10 p.m. Friday.

Graduation ceremonies at Mingo Central High School on Friday night were postponed to Saturday morning due to the manhunt. Residents were urged to stay indoors until Kennedy was captured.

The body was taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office Friday night. It was transported to an organ donation facility Saturday.

Maynard’s death marks the third fatal police officer shooting in West Virginia in the last two and a half years. It was on this day one year ago that Nicholas County Deputy Tom Baker was shot and killed in the Birch River area on June 3, 2022. Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson died after being shot while responding to a parking complaint in Dec. 2020.

Reaction about Maynard’s death continued to pour in from across state lines Saturday. Maynard, who grew up close to Williamson in neighboring Belfry, Kentucky, caught the attention of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Beshear wrote on Twitter he was “heartbroken”, and that Maynard was “a hero who sacrificed everything to make our communities safer.”

Maynard was honored by State Police for the Life Saving Award in 2015. He saved a man’s life who was involved in a pursuit in the Eastern Panhandle.

State Senate President Craig Blair recognized Maynard’s actions in a statement released Saturday:

“As a young officer with our State Police in the Eastern Panhandle, Sgt. Maynard was recognized with a Lifesaving Award for his actions in the line of duty. He continued to exemplify the qualities of compassion, bravery, and service throughout his career. His ultimate sacrifice in his service to his community and to our citizens will not be forgotten,” Blair wrote.

The statement went on to say, “The Senate joins with Governor Justice and our fellow West Virginians across the state in praying for Sgt. Maynard’s family, friends, and fellow law enforcement officers. We pray for the safety and protection of all of West Virginia’s first responders, and thank each of you for your service to your communities and the State of West Virginia.”

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West Virginia receives Major lift to avoid elimination with 13-5 win against Ball State

Thanks to a major lift from Aidan Major, West Virginia’s baseball team put an end to a six-game losing streak and extended its season at least one more game.

Major took over Saturday’s elimination game against Ball State before the bottom of the fourth inning and pitched five scoreless innings, striking out eight and surrendering one hit over a dominant effort that sparked the Mountaineers’ 13-5 win as part of the Lexington Regional at Kentucky Proud Park.

The victory allows the Mountaineers (40-19) to play at least one more elimination game at noon Sunday against host Kentucky, which lost to Indiana later Saturday, 5-3. If the Mountaineers eliminate UK, they will play again at 6 p.m. Sunday against the Hoosiers.

With the win, WVU also reached 40 wins for the second time and tied the program record for single season victories.

Just before Major took over for Ben Hampton, the Mountaineers turned a two-run deficit into a 7-5 lead. That inning featured a solo home run from Dayne Leonard, JJ Wetherholt’s run-scoring groundout and a two-run long ball from Logan Sauve.

WVU added to its advantage in the seventh when Grant Hussey hit the Mountaineers’ third and final home run of the matchup.

In the ninth, the Mountaineers managed to score five insurance runs, getting two-run singles from Leonard and Tevin Tucker and a run-scoring single from Sauve.

Major had pitched five-plus innings only twice this season before Saturday. He struck out the side in the fifth and retired his first eight batters and 15 of the 16 he faced, before giving way to Noah Short, who pitched a perfect ninth.

Wetherholt’s three-run home run in the third inning gave WVU a 3-1 lead at the time, but Hampton ran into trouble in the bottom of that inning. 

After Hampton retired the first two batters off the frame, Adam Tellier connected for a double — the first of six straight Cardinals’ hits.

Tellier scored on Hunter Dobbins’ single, and Blake Bevis’ run-scoring single tied it at 3.

CJ Horn and Nick Gregory later added RBI singles in the third.

But Ball State (36-23) starting pitcher Ty Johnson nor relievers Ty Weatherly and Jxxx Hartlaub found much success on the mound.

Johnson took the loss after surrendering seven runs, including six earned, in four innings. Weatherly went 4 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

Hartlaub was charged with two runs on three hits and recorded one out.

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Cabell Midland utilizes small ball to get by Hedgesville 11-8 for Class AAA championship

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cabell Midland baseball coach Tracy Brumfield likes to think of this year’s version of the Knights as selfless.

Never was that more evident than Saturday in the Class AAA title game against Hedgesville at GoMart Ballpark.

No. 1 Cabell Midland took control of the contest with a nine-run fourth inning, a frame in which three consecutive bunt singles played a major role in turning the tide in the Knights’ favor as they gained the lead and held off a furious rally from the Eagles for an 11-8 victory.

“We told the kids you have to be able to get the bunts down in big situations. You have to be able to buy into it and get it down,” Brumfield said. “The way kids are today, they don’t want to bunt. They want to swing. But our kids in the lower part of the lineup put down great bunts. We had the squeeze on and it was great execution.”

The result allows Cabell Midland (30-10) to claim its second baseball championship on the 20-year anniversary of its initial title.

“It’s never easy, but it’s been a long time. This one’s ours,” Brumfield said.

Facing their first deficit at 3-2 they came to bat in the fourth, the Knights pulled even on a run-scoring single from Jack Eastone that marked the end of the outing for Hedgesville (28-9) starting pitcher Tanner Matthew.

He was replaced by Jaxson Ruest, who was immediately greeted by a bunt from No. 7 hitter Ben Fulks that led to a single and a throwing error that allowed Isaac Petitt to score.

Fulks was originally ruled out on the play, but after the umpires got together, they ruled Fulks was not tagged and he was awarded first base.

“I don’t really understand some of the semantics of what we were told there, but it comes down to did we hit well enough, pitch well enough and play good enough defense. We didn’t do it,” HHS head coach Eric Grove said. “This is one game in a season where we’ve had tremendous success.” 

Bryce Alfrey followed with a bunt single that scored Eastone, and Hunter McSweeney made it three straight bunt singles to create a bases loaded situation for Landon Nida, who drew a base-on-balls that left Midland with a 6-3 lead.

“I was really just trying to put it down the third base line, because I saw the third baseman playing back,” McSweeney said. “I was trying to get the runners over and trying to get on.”

Later in the inning, Kenyon Collins drove in two with a single and Luke Samuel did likewise with a double, before Eastone added his second run-scoring single of the frame that left the Eagles trailing by eight.

“You get booed because for [bunting], but guess what? It doesn’t matter,” Brumfield said. “We won and bunting was a big part of that.“

However, with everything going against them, the No. 3 Eagles answered back in the fifth to make things interesting.

Aden McCormill replaced Eastone on the mound to start that inning, and Brett Pederson lined into a double play to create an early two out situation with nobody on.

But Landon Pence followed with a double, and after an error extended the inning, Chris French worked a walk to load the bases. Trenton Knieriem followed with his own walk to bring in a run, and after Gage Ganoe was hit by a pitch with the bags packed, the Eagles were to within 11-5 and Jared Nethercutt replaced McCormill.

It did little to slow Hedgesville’s momentum as Braylon Conner worked a walk to bring in the Eagles’ sixth run, and Noah Brown followed with a two-run single for a three-run deficit.

Nethercutt induced a ground ball to second off the bat of Ruest with two in scoring position that enabled Midland to keep its three-run lead.

“It’s hard when you get to this point, you’re staying so far away from home and the kids are tired from the weather and you wonder are we going to have a response,” Grove said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the fact we scored five runs and gave ourselves a chance. If this is the worst thing that happens in their life, then they’re going to have a good life.”

McSweeney took over on the mound to start the sixth and the Eagles managed only Quinn’s two-out single that inning over the last two frames. McSweeney struck out the first two batters of the seventh and got Conner to hit a fly ball to center for the game’s final out.

“The adrenaline was pumping, but it wasn’t very stressful,” McSweeney said. “I felt normal and it just felt like a normal game.”

Midland went in front 2-0 in the second after Eastone’s RBI double and a Fulks run-scoring single, though the Eagles scored two runs on consecutive Knights’ errors in the top of the third to draw even at 2.

Conner’s fourth-inning single scored Ganoe and allowed Hedgesville to lead for the first and only time.

Eastone picked up the win after allowing three unearned runs in four innings. McSweeney struck out a pair over two scoreless innings to record the save.

Eastone and Samuel had three hits apiece to combine for half of Midland’s 12 hits.

“We wanted to put the ball on the ground, run the bases and put pressure on them,” Brumfield said.

Brown and Ganoe led Hedgesville’s eight-hit attack with two each.

Matthew suffered the loss after allowing five runs in three innings. Ruest was charged with six runs in three innings.

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Mountain Line Transit Authority passes on electric, opts to test three liquid propane buses
Dave Bruffy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Mountain Line Transit Authority will test three liquid propane buses this year at a cost of about $500,000, according to CEO Dave Bruffy.

Bruffy decided on liquid propane after a site visit to Missoula, Montana, and a survey of their electric bus program.

Bruffy said cost was one of the first issues. Since the pandemic, the cost of all goods has skyrocketed, but the cost of the new technology in electric vehicles and operational limitations make an electric bus a bad choice for this area.

“The cost is about 3 to 1, so for every diesel-engine bus you can buy, you’re going to have to spend three times as much because you need two electric buses; they don’t have the range without being charged,” Bruffy said.

In Missoula, officials had a goal of going all electric by 2025, and by 2021, 40 percent of the fleet was electric. Bruffy said in Montana, buses were outfitted with diesel-fueled heaters because the batteries could not handle the load. Bruffy also had concerns about the life of the electric bus as compared to its diesel counterpart.

“The batteries lose effectiveness in the colder weather,” Bruffy said. “They have a half-life of about six years, and the buses we buy are required to be kept for at least 12 years, so we have a major expense in the future.”

Electric vehicle technology is still very much in development, and many new concerns are identified as the buses gain more road miles. Many mechanical issues are solved by the experiences of others, but many electric bus operators find themselves the first to experience or solve an issue.

“Poor tires wear because they’re so much heavier,” Bruffy said. “There is no extensive maintenance history, so there is no transit system you can call and ask about a problem because they have not experienced it yet.”

Building infrastructure is another major issue for Bruffy and the Mountain Line Transit Authority garage in Westover. First, the electrical infrastructure would require a major upgrade to support charging operations. Next, rates for electricity are negotiated with power companies based on peak, off-peak, and total use projections.

“We have a water sprinkler, and we have a sprinkler system in our garage, and a water sprinkled system will not put out an electric bus fire,” Bruffy said. “There have been a couple facilities that have been lost because of an electric bus fire.”

The door is not completely closed on electric buses in the Morgantown area. But, until some power, cost, and comfort issues are addressed with electric vehicles, the Mountain Line Transit Authority will proceed with a test of the three liquid propane buses this year.

“The technology has gotten better, but it’s still not to the point that you can run those vehicles on our terrain and run the heater on them—that’s another issue,” Bruffy said.

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Wahama puts it all together, tops Tyler Consolidated 10-0 for Class A crown

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Over the last 12 months, Wahama’s baseball team was often reminded of how it came up just short in last year’s Class A title game, falling to Charleston Catholic by one run and squandering a late lead in the process.

The White Falcons used the result to provide more motivation for a 2023 season with heightened expectations.

“We used it the entire season,” said junior Bryce Zuspan.

After exacting a measure of revenge Thursday by edging the Irish in a semifinal that lasted 11 innings, Wahama exorcised the demons from last year’s final Saturday in a repeat title game appearance against top seed Tyler Consolidated.

The No. 3 White Falcons turned a scoreless contest through three innings into a runaway victory, breaking loose for four runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth, which was more than enough offense to back Zuspan’s flawless pitching performance in a 10-0 six-inning win over the Silver Knights.

“That’s a good baseball team over there, but being here before paid off, and I knew once we scored some runs that would help our pitching as well, because when you start running out of outs the pressure goes up,” Wahama head coach Billy Zuspan said. “If anybody knows how hard that last out is to get, it’s us. We walked out of this stadium a year ago losing about the worst way. Comeback kids right there. They battled with grit all season.”

Wahama (27-10) claimed its fifth baseball championship and wrapped up a memorable 10-day stretch for the school’s athletics after the White Falcons softball team won the Class A championship for the third straight season last week.

Wahama also became the first school to sweep softball and baseball championships since Hurricane in 2018 and the first in Class A since Wheeling Central in 2007.

Zuspan and the Silver Knights’ Jayden Helmick each threw three scoreless frames to start. The White Falcons’ best opportunity to score was with runners at the corners in the first inning, before Helmick induced a ground ball back his way off the bat of Hayden Lloyd for the final out. Tyler Consolidated (32-7) was without a hit until Mason Nichols’ one-out single in the third. It was followed by a diving catch from Lloyd in left field that took away extra bases from Helmick and the game’s first run.

Wahama then gained the lead in the fourth courtesy of an Eli Rickard single that brought home Logan Roach, who had led off with a double.

“When you’re on a stage like this, whoever can break the ice first does have the upper hand, but the way these guys have come back in games, battled and won 32 games, I felt like we’re never out of it,” Silver Knights’ head coach Rob Jones said. ”I still can’t believe we’re out of this one.”

Although the White Falcons stranded two runners in that frame, Zuspan retired the Silver Knights in order in the home half of the fourth, setting the stage for Wahama to seize complete control in the fifth.

Helmick retired the first two batters of the inning, before six straight Wahama batters reached base.

That stretch began with Nathan Manuel’s single and Roach followed with a double. Ethan Gray’s infield single scored Manuel, and Lloyd then worked a base-on-balls to load the bases.

Another single to short from Rickard upped the Wahama lead to 3-0 and Trey Ohlinger followed with a solid single to left that drove in a pair and left TCHS facing a five-run deficit.

Helmick was replaced by Reese Davis, who surrounded a single to Zuspan that led to the final out of the inning on a play at the plate.

If the Silver Knights had thoughts of carrying over momentum from a strong defensive play, they were quickly erased as Zuspan induced fly ball outs on the first two batters in the home half of the fifth, and then retired Zade Billings on a ground ball to third with a pair of runners aboard.

“I’ve seen him pitch some really good games throughout his career and this was one of the most exciting,” coach Zuspan said. “I’m really proud of him. He did a great job.”

Wahama ran away in the sixth after loading the bases with one out courtesy of three walks. Gray followed with a two-run single, and after Lloyd was hit by a pitch, Rickard worked a base-on-balls that brought in the eighth run.

Ohlinger followed with a sacrifice fly and Zuspan drove in a run with a single to make it a 10-run margin.

“Great defense behind our pitching and we had a ton of hits,” coach Zuspan said. “We hit the ball well all day.”

Zuspan allowed a leadoff double to Ethan Clark in the seventh, but retired the next three batters to keep his shutout intact — including a sliding catch from Lloyd in left on a ball hit by Gorby for the game’s final out. That continued a trend of stellar defense from the White Falcons, particularly in the outfield, at the state tournament.

When the two teams met earlier this season during a doubleheader April 23, Tyler won both contests by a combined score of 16-5.

“We were very familiar with Wahama as they are with us,” Jones said. “Their catcher was out of the doubleheader and we knew that which shifted around some of their other defense. They’ve been one of the best defenses in the state all year and Zuspan has been raised around the game. He battled today and we weren’t able to come up with big hits. We were getting underneath the ball and couldn’t get enough runners on to play our game, move guys around and bunt the ball.”

Helmick struck out nine, but allowed five runs on nine hits in defeat over 4 2/3 innings.

Five Wahama players had multiple hits as the White Falcons finished with 12. Gray led the way with three, while Roach, Rickard, Ohlinger and Zuspan had two apiece. 

Zuspan surrendered four hits, walked a pair and struck out six in the most memorable performance of his successful career to this point.

“After maybe the third inning, I started getting my footing a little bit more,” Zuspan said. “I was throwing a little bit harder and finding the umpires’ strike zone. My catcher was also framing it for me and that’s when I found it.”

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Investigators look for additional clues in 2021 death investigation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A team of investigators from the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation returned to Dug Hill Road, just outside Morgantown, this week to look for additional clues in a 2021 death investigation.

A body was found in June 2021 by someone working on the land in that area. The person was wearing an LA Lakers jersey and black sweat pants and appeared to have dreadlocks. Due to the state of decomposition, investigators were not able to determine the race or gender of the subject.

An anthropological report released in March said the remains were likely those of a 14–23-year-old white male between 5-feet 6-inches and 6-feet tall.

The new information has been entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

The team used metal detectors and cleared additional brush this week in an effort to find additional clues.

Information about the case can be left confidentially by calling 304-291-7218.

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Logging worker dies after tree falls in Randolph County

MONTERVILLE, W.Va. — A logging company worker is dead after a tree fell on top of him in Randolph County.

David Moreland, 54, of Scherr in Grant County, was killed just after 2 p.m. Thursday about a mile off a rural logging road near Turkey Bone Road in Monterville, according to a press release from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

The tree uprooted and fell on Moreland as he was preparing a felled log. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Moreland had been with the logging company as an experienced logger for 15 years.

The state Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy.

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