UPDATE | Bond denied for man charged with murdering his wife

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SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ/MetroNews) -- UPDATE 10/21/19 @ 1:45 p.m.
Bond has been denied for a Jackson County man facing a murder charge, our media partner WV MetroNews reports.

On Monday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom denied bond for James Kiser, 40, of Kenna, on his first-degree murder charge.

In September, Kiser admitted to police he killed his wife Crystal Dawn Kiser, 36, and buried her in a shallow grave.

“Given the seriousness to the nature of these charges and the proximity of the children," Bloom said in court Monday. “The children’s interest is foremost to because they are potential witnesses. I think that continued incarceration pending trial is appropriate.”

Kiser’s two children, both teenagers, currently live with his mother, Betty Kiser. She took the stand during the bond hearing and said that she would welcome Kiser to her home if he was released on bond.

Betty Kiser was one of over a dozen family members on hand, supporting bond for James Kiser. Dwayne Harrison, the second cousin of James Kiser and a former employer, said he had a job for Kiser if he was released.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris asked Harrison if he still trusted Kiser even though Kiser lied to him between the time the victim was missing and the admission of killing. Harrison said yes.

“He lied to his own family. He has lied on an application on the purchase of a firearm,” Morris told the court. “He has a prior history of violence, not only with this victim but with another woman.”

Morris said the victim had filed two separate domestic violence petitions against Kiser, including one that claimed he had choked her and she feared for her life. He also added that the defendant stalked the victim leading up to the murder.

James Kiser was convicted in 1998 of domestic battery in Fayetteville. Investigators say he lied about the conviction on an application to buy a gun.

The lying continued to the police, Morris said.

“He gave two different versions of how the crime occurred,” he said. “He said he confronted the victim and used the words “lost it” with the victim. He initially said the victim fell inside the house during the struggle and hit her head. Later on, he changed his story that the victim fell outside, hit a rock with her head, causing death.”

On Sept. 5, Kiser admitted to killing his wife nearly a month after she was reported missing on August 11. According to him, he killed the victim during an argument at her grandmother’s home on Lessle Lane near Sissonville. He then took her body to a remote location near the community of Kentuck in Jackson County where he buried her.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said the body was discovered early on the morning of Sept. 6. Morris said on Monday that the body was rotting and when found was mostly skeletal remains. Because of that, he said, an autopsy to find the cause of death may be difficult to complete but it doesn’t appear the victim had any injuries to her skull.

Kiser will remain in the South Central Regional Jail. Bloom said if the state doesn’t present the case to a grand jury by early 2020, he would take another look at a bond.

UPDATE 9/6/19 @ 1:15 p.m.
A man has confessed to killing his wife, who was reported missing last month.

Crystal Kiser, 36, of Kenna, West Virginia, was reported missing on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. She was last seen at her grandmother's house on Lessie Lane near Sissonville.

Her husband, James Kiser, has been charged with first-degree murder. According to Kanawha County deputies, Kiser confessed to the crime Thursday during an interview. He claimed he killed Crystal during an argument at her grandmother's house, then took the body to a remote location in Jackson County and buried her in a shallow grave.

"We're sad that it turned out this way," Kanawha County Sheriff Michael Rutherford said. "But we are glad that we are able to bring closure to her family and let them know where she is and that justice will hopefully be served."

James led detectives to the location of the shallow grave Friday. Forensic investigators with the Kanawha Bureau of Investigations, along with investigators for the West Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office are exhuming the body.

"On behalf of our office, I would like to extend our condolences to the family of Miss Kiser," said Mary Claire Akers, assistant prosecutor in Kanawha County. "As the sheriff said, we all wish it turned out a different way, but sadly it turned out the way it did."

James Kiser was arraigned Friday afternoon in Jackson County.

UPDATE 9/4/19 @ 11:51 a.m.
Loved ones are planning a search party for a missing woman who was last seen in Kanawha County.

Crystal Dawn Kiser, 38, lives in Jackson County, West Virginia, but Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies say she was staying at a relative's house on Lessie Lane in Sissonville when she was reported missing. She was last seen on Aug. 9.

Family and friends are going to search for Kiser or any sign of her Saturday in the Kenna area and around the county. Volunteers should meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the new Kenna Elementary School.

Organizers suggest volunteers wear a shirt that is neon or bright so property owners can see you in the woods.

A Facebook post about the search party says organizers will notify the Jackson County Sheriff's Office about the plans. It also asks volunteers to respect people's property during the search.

The group plans to use four-wheelers and side-by-sides to cover more ground.

Deputies say Kiser is roughly 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 150 lbs with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information on Crystal's whereabouts is urged to call (304) 357-0169, submit a tip on the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office website at www.kanawhasheriff.us, or email deputies at tips@kanawhasheriff.us.

The Kanawha Sheriff's Office says Crystal Dawn Kiser, 38, of Jackson County, was last seen on Aug. 9.

"There's no way that she just walked out the door and never came back," said Kelly Boggess-George, a cousin of Crystal.

Deputies say Kiser is roughly 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 150 lbs with brown hair and hazel eyes. Kiser lives in Jackson County, West Virginia but was staying at a relative's house on Lessie Lane in Sissonville, where she was reported missing.

"She would've never left her children in a million years, not in a million years would she have left her children," said Boggess-George. "Her grandmother had been in the hospital for over a week and she had not missed one day of going to the hospital."

Deputies say Kiser does not have her vehicle, and it is unknown where she went or with whom she would have left.

Thursday night, family and friends of Kiser gathered at Sissonville Middle School to honor Crystal and celebrate her birthday.

"I would hope that it's her birthday and she would come home and say 'surprise.' That's what I hope but what I think, I don't even want to talk about what I think," said Boggess-George.

"There's a great time of need, I couldn't imagine not knowing where she's at," said Pastor Robbie Holmes, who also grew up with Crystal. "To me, I think that's the scariest thing, is to not having the understanding and the closure."

Anyone with information on Crystal's whereabouts is urged to call (304) 357-0169, submit a tip on the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office website at www.kanawhasheriff.us, or email deputies at tips@kanawhasheriff.us.