Hunters Find Body South of Marion


MARION, Va. – Hunters found a badly decomposed body in the woods south of Marion on Saturday.
Police said no identification was found on the body but they believe it could be the remains of a fugitive who eluded capture in the area last winter.
Smyth County Sheriff’s Office Investigator B.C. “Chip” Shuler said the body might be that of David Wayne Richardson, 37, of Kelly Hill Road in Atkins, who led police on a failed, days-long manhunt through the mountains around Attoway, part of the Jefferson National Forest southeast of Marion.
Richardson, already a convicted felon, was charged with felonious breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, before he fled into the forest.
On Feb. 11, 2009, Richardson’s ex-wife’s husband reported that Richardson broke into his home in Marion and threatened him, Marion Police Lt. Rex Anders said.
Police found Richardson’s Dodge SUV abandoned at Attoway Cemetery, at the foot of the mountains, on Virginia Highway 16. Anders said Richardson was an avid hunter, and knew the mountains well.
In the days that followed, state and local law enforcement combed the surrounding forest, but turned up no clue to Richardson’s whereabouts.
Over a week into the search, they brought in cadaver dogs trained to find human bodies. A news statement issued by the Sheriff’s Office of Smyth County said the department will not officially release a name until a positive identification is made by the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke.
If the body is Richardson’s, Shuler said, the identification should come quickly through comparisons to records on file.
“If it is him, he’ll be in the database as a felon,” Shuler said.
Richardson is registered with the Virginia State Police as a sex offender. Court records show Richardson should be serving seven years of probation. He was arrested in January 2002 and tried in March of that year on abduction charges and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with nine years and four days suspended, and three years in prison on the firearms charge. | (276) 645-2531

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