WVSP breaking news

WVSP breaking news

SKYGUSTY — Human remains have been discovered in the Skygusty area of McDowell County, State Police officials said Thursday.

This is the fourth case of human remains to be found in McDowell and Mercer counties since June, however officials say the cases are not related.

Sgt. C.K. McKenzie, commander of the West Virginia State Police Welch detachment, said the Skygusty remains were discovered Tuesday evening.

Neither the age or gender of the victim is being released at this time, McKenzie said.

First Sgt. J.K. Cooper, district commander of the Welch and Princeton detachments, said State Police officials received information that led them to the discovery of the buried remains.

Officials said the remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.

McKenzie said the remains are not related to other human remains found in the Warriormine and Berwind Lake areas of McDowell County earlier this year, nor is the case related to additional human remains discovered in Mercer County in June.

“This is not connected to anything else that’s been found in Mercer or McDowell,” McKenzie said.


The first set of human remains involved a body found June 12 in the Warriormine area, later identified as Billy Joe Baker, 46, of War.

Baker had been missing since May 31.

McDowell County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy James E. Muncy Jr. said Thursday that a report from the State Medical Examiner’s Office indicated Baker’s death “does not look suspicious.”


On June 17, Skeletal remains were discovered in Bearwallow Hollow near Berwind Lake in McDowell County.

The remains were not found in the lake or beside it. “They were out of the water, on top of a mountain near the lake,” Muncy said. “They were probably two miles out of Buchanan County (Va.).”

Deputies determined the remains to be recent and not historical.

These remains were also sent to the state medical examiner, but Muncy said the identity remains a mystery.

“We don’t know who they are,” he said. “We don’t know age or gender.”

In July, Muncy reported that the FBI was assisting in the case.

“We did invite the FBI to come down,” and they located more items, he said. “We appreciate them coming and aiding.”

Muncy also said Thursday that he had reached out to the FBI and medical examiner’s office earlier that day, but no new details were provided.

Anyone with information on the Berwind Lake case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 304-436-8523 or McDowell County 911.


A third set of initial human remains were discovered in the southeastern area of Mercer County on June 20.

The victim was later learned to be Amanda Presutti, 34, of Princeton, who was reported missing by her family on June 9.

Earlier this month the Daily Telegraph learned that the West Virginia State Police were following leads on possible persons of interest in the case.

“We are working this as an active homicide investigation” Senior Trooper D.B. Whited said. “Right now we are following up on leads on possible persons of interest.”

Whited also said troopers and search and rescue teams have continued to comb the area throughout the summer.

“The Black Diamond Search and Rescue Council out of Blacksburg, Va., has been searching the area every weekend for the last two months,” he said.

Whited said additional remains have been discovered “at the scene, in the same area.”

These remains have been sent to the University of Tennessee for identification, however Whited said they are believed to be Presutti.

According to an earlier report by Whited, Presutti had been missing since June 1. She was last seen in the Thorn Street area of Princeton.

Anyone with information on the Presutti case is asked to contact the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment at 304-425-2101.


Officials have emphasized that they do not believe the cases are connected.

“There is no relation in the four cases that I know of,” Muncy said.

— Contact Samantha Perry at sperry@bdtonline.com


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