Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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WV State News

August 20, 2013

W.Va. authorities seek help identifying 2 bodies

SUMMERSVILLE — West Virginia officials have called in experts from Washington, D.C., as they try to identify two sets of human remains found in a Nicholas County storage unit.

Prosecutors tell The Register-Herald that no positive DNA matches or identification have been made on the bodies or a skull. The skull was found in the home of 61-year-old Wanda Kiser, who prosecutors say will be charged with illegally disposing of a dead body once she’s released from the hospital. Nicholas County Prosecutor James Milam said Saturday that when law enforcement went to her house to serve the warrants, they found she “had taken a bunch of pills.”

The arrest warrants were issued after the discovery of the bodies last Wednesday.

Kiser is charged in Alabama with 17 counts of forgery for allegedly cashing retirement checks belonging to 105-year-old Mary Cobb and 84-year-old Wynona Delvecchio of Jasper, Ala.

Alabama authorities say Kiser checked Cobb and Delvecchio out of a nursing home there in 2000. They were reported missing in 2003.

“Because of the length of the time, obviously, and the state we found them in, there are some difficulties surrounding (identification),” Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said. “Although we are somewhat confident of what we have, we need to verify this and that’s taking the amount of time.”

It was unclear whether Kiser has an attorney.

Adair said Kiser and her husband had lived next door to Delvecchio prior to Delvecchio’s disappearance.

Adair did not say whether the storage unit was leased to Kiser. While she is the only person currently facing charges in relation to the missing person case, “We have not closed off any avenue,” Adair said.

“At this point, there are some leads investigators are following up on,” he said.

In 2005, Kiser was convicted in federal court of wire fraud for receiving and cashing $10,000 of Cobb’s United States Railroad Retirement Board benefits. She served three years’ probation in Nicholas County on that charge.

A skull was found under Delvecchio’s home in 2012, and Alabama investigators had traveled to Nicholas County in July to question Kiser about the women’s disappearance, Nicholas police have said.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. R.D. Lilly said Friday that the owner of Stor-All storage company in Summersville contacted police to report what appeared to be a human leg inside a unit into which he looked because the door was unsecured. After obtaining search warrants, troopers discovered the decomposed remains of two people.

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