UPDATE: Investigation Continues into Ona Human Remains

By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/19/12 @ 10:40 p.m.
ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An investigation into human remains found last month off Wire Branch Road in Ona continues.

A driver's license belonging to Michael Whittier Rigdon was found at the scene, but investigators have not identified the remains as Rigdon's.

Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas says experts from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., surveyed the site Monday looking for more evidence.

We're told those experts will be helping the state medical examiner's office with the ongoing identification process.

UPDATE 10/26/12 @ 2:46 p.m.
ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators are now looking for information about a diver's license that they found near the human remains in Ona.

According to a release from the Cabell County Sheriff's Department, Michael Whittier Rigdon's West Virginia driver's license was found near the human remains in Ona.

A complete skeleton was not found, according to the release, and due to the weather and animal activity the scene had been disturbed over time.

Rigdon is a resident of Ona area, according to the release.

The remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for examination and identification.

The Sheriff's Department is asking anyone that may have information about the whereabouts, or any other information, of Rigdon, to call the detective bureau at 304-743-1594.

The human remains were found on Sunday, and the search of the area was completed on Tuesday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/23/12 @ 1:15 p.m.
ONA, WVa. (WSAZ) -- The search of the area where human remains were found has come to an end -- now investigators begin the process of trying to identify the person.

Sheriff Tom McComas tells WSAZ.com the search finished up about dusk Tuesday. The skeletal remains were found Sunday in an area off Wire Branch Road in Ona.

The focus now is on processing all of the evidence collected at the scene..

"I'm not really going to comment on the specific things that we have recovered at this time," said Sheriff McComas. "We're just going to try to figure out who this person is and evaluate those items of evidence that were taken."

The Cabell County Sheriff's Department, FBI and Coroner's Office took part in searching the area. Care was of the utmost concern in order to have the highest possible chance of identifying the remains.

Sheriff McComas also says that they have been inundated with phone calls about the identity of the remains.

"We've had several departments calling in giving us information, wanting to know if it is related to cases they are working," said Sheriff McComas. "Plus, we have had numerous civilians calling in that are missing loved ones, giving us information and receiving information that we have, wondering if it is their loved one that is missing."

Much of the evidence is being sent off for testing. All of the departments are working together quickly to try to find an identity.

Investigators still have no idea how long the remains were at the location.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/22/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
ONA, WVa. (WSAZ) -- More than 300 pictures have been taken of the scene off Wire Branch Road, in Ona, West Virginia.

For the past two days, law enforcement has been on a hillside at the scene where human skeletal remains were found.

"It's gonna be a lengthy process to try and determine who this individual was, if we can determine who it was." says Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas. "You have to treat every scene as though there's a crime; we may need to prosecute this case some point in the future."

The FBI and local coroner were also on site, Tuesday, to gather evidence. The perimeter of the investigation is also growing larger, covering several acres.

When asked about clues as to how recent the remains may have been there, WSAZ.com's Bill Murray asked investigators if the skeletal remains were clothed.

"At ths point in the investigation, I can't comment, too much, on that." says deputy Doug Ferguson. "We still have not removed some of those things, this had some clothing around it; it's too early to determine what kind of clothing it may have had on."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/21/12 @ 8:59 p.m.
ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators will comb for more evidence Monday morning following a disturbing discovery.

Sheriff's Deputies in Cabell County say human skeletal remains were found off Wire Branch Road in Ona. A family called police after making the unexpected uncovering.

"There's usually not ever any cops around here and now we have a houseful," homeowner Kim Justice said. "They're everywhere."

It's unclear how long the remains have been there, but investigators suspect quite some time.

Sheriff Tom McComas tells WSAZ.com no missing people have been reported recently. However, they're treating this like a worst-case scenario, even calling in FBI investigators.

"We're not in a big hurry, take our time, do things right," Sheriff Tom McComas said. "Usually when you try to rush and hurry things you make mistakes so slow down mode, do it right, see what the evidence leads us to find."

Police are not saying whether or not foul play is suspected.

For the family who owns the property, they say they're rattled after stumbling onto this.

"My family and I have been up on this hill forever," Justice said. "I mean me and my brother played up there as kids and it's kind of scary thinking that the remains of somebody are laying up there."

Deputies secured the scene Sunday night and consider themselves to be in the early stages of the investigation.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators are trying to determine whether or not a crime was committed following a disturbing discovering.

Sheriff Tom McComas tells WSAZ.com human remains were found near Wire Branch Road Sunday.

He says officials are considering it a crime scene and securing the area.

We has a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com updates on this developing story.

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