UPDATE: Jonathan Skaggs' Unsolved Mystery, a WVVA Special Report - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Jonathan Skaggs' Unsolved Mystery, a WVVA Special Report

Jonathan Skaggs (photo courtesy of Fayette County Sheriff's Department) Jonathan Skaggs (photo courtesy of Fayette County Sheriff's Department)



DEMPSEY BRANCH, W. Va (WVVA)-- Police tell WVVA they know what happened to Jonathan Skaggs, 24, on August 15, 1999: he was murdered.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said that night, a deputy found Skaggs drunk on the side of Dempsey Branch Road past Oak Hill in Fayette County. Rather than leave him, the officer took him where he asked to go: his friend Alfred "Clint" Toney's house.

Soon after that night, Skaggs' family began to worry where he was. He was reported as a missing person on August 17, 1999 and the search for him began.

After conducting multiple interviews, Toney eventually came to police and told them he "may have" burned Skaggs in a fire pit in his yard.

Police brought cadaver dogs to search the area and found a pile of ashes dumped in the hollow nearby. The dogs signaled, and when police sifted through the debris, they found bone fragments and smelled the unmistakable scent of human remains.

They found even more remains in a fire pit on Toney's property, where witnesses had seen him burning things the morning after Jonathan disappeared.

Kessler said he knows what happened; that Toney burned Skaggs and piled more and more trash on top of him.

"This wasn't just a burning," said Captain Jim Sizemore, who has also put countless hours into this case.  "This was chopped, manipulated, and turned and broken, to get the body to that point while the bones were being burned."

While Clint Toney was and continues to be a prime suspect for investigators, Kessler said they were never able to fully prosecute him. Each time he was interviewed, he provided different accounts of the night Jonathan disappeared. While other witnesses' accounts never wavered, Kessler said Toney's was the one that changed.

Skaggs' family still holds out hope that this case will one day be cracked. Police, too, want to see it resolved.

They have not been able to get the charges past a grand jury, and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

To read a full account of this unsolved mystery and find out how to share your tips about the case, click here.

Jonathan Skaggs' family reached out to WVVA after they learned we were working on this report. They released these statements:

"Those that knew Jon would agree that he was a wonderful, fun, and caring individual. He was taken from this earth much too early. I pray daily for peace regarding the murder of my brother. His family will continue to be his voice, and we will never give up until justice has been served." 

-Shawnea Alberston, Skaggs' sister

"The past 14 and 1/2 years have been a nightmare for my family. It has been 14 1/2 years without answers or justice for the murder of my brother Jonathan Skaggs. Jon was a very kind, loveable, and generous individual. He deserves justice and our family deserves answers. There has not been a day that has went by since his murder that we don't think of him and pray for the day that justice will be served to the monster who took his life. Our hearts continue to ache knowing that the person responsible for his death has never had to serve a moment in jail for this horrific crime. As a family we will stand strong in our faith and know that Jon's murderer will one day pay for his crime. We beg the public to please come forth with any information that you may have to help solve this case. We will never give up in looking for these answers and pray that justice will one day prevail."

- Christy DeLung, Skaggs' sister

Police ask anyone with information about this investigation to come forward. Call the Fayette County Sheriff's Department at 304-574-4216 or Crimestoppers.

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