UPDATE: Names of victims, description of 'persons of interest' r - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Names of victims, description of 'persons of interest' released in Fayette fire investigation

FAYETTE COUNTY (WVVA) - Authorities have released the names of two women found with severe burns in a weekend house fire in the Oak Hill area.

Cheryl Ward, age 28, of Oak Hill, and Jamie Castillo, age 39, originally of Ohio, but reportedly residing in the Oak Hill, were found just inside the front entrance to the home on Gatewood Road when first responders arrived early Sunday morning, according to a news release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

Ward was pronounced dead as a result of her injuries on Monday. Castillo remains in critical condition at this time.  

Authorities believe the fire started in the living room area, where the women were found, and have released descriptions of two 'persons of interest' in connection with the incident.

"We are looking for any witnesses who may have seen two white males walking in the area of East Main Street near the intersection with Gatewood Road in Oak Hill and the Summerlee Road area between the Country Corner and the Owl's Club in Oak Hill between 11:00 pm on Saturday, March 22, 2014 and 2:30 am on Sunday, March 23, 2014," said Sheriff Steve Kessler.

"One of these male individuals is described as a white male, approximately in his mid-fifties, short and stocky, with short salt-and-pepper hair and a closely-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard and mustache. The second male is described as a white male, approximately in his early twenties, short and slender."

Anyone who may have witnessed these two males walking together in this area within this time frame is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (304) 574-4216 or Crime Stoppers at (304) 255-7867. You may also submit information through the department's Facebook page.


FAYETTE COUNTY (WVVA) - One of two women severely burned in a weekend house fire has died, according to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

The woman's body will be sent to the state medical examiner for autopsy.

The second victim remains in critical condition at a Huntington hospital. 

Both women suffered extensive burns when a home on Gatewood Road near Oak Hill caught fire early Sunday morning.

Contrary to information received during the initial stages of the investigation, the sheriff's office now says at least one of the victims was known to the occupants of the residence.

Names of those involved have not been released at this time. The investigation into the fire continues.


FAYETTE COUNTY (NEWS RELEASE) -- Two women have been hospitalized following a fire early this morning in the Gatewood Road area of Fayette County.  Sheriff Steve Kessler released the following information concerning the ongoing investigation into this incident:  

At approximately 1:46 am on Sunday, March 23, 2014 notification was received through the Fayette County 911 Center of a structure fire at a residence located at 530 Gatewood Road near Oak Hill.  Units from the Oak Hill and Fayetteville Fire Departments, Jan-Care and General Ambulance Service and the Fayette County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to respond to the scene. 

When the first fire-fighters arrived at the scene and made entry into the residence they found two females lying just inside the front door of the residence.  Both of these females had suffered what have been described as "extensive burns" to the upper portions of their bodies.  One victim was immediately flown from the scene via air ambulance to the burn unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Cabell County, WV.  The second victim was initially transported to Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill for stabilizing treatment, and was subsequently transferred via air ambulance to the burn unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.  Both victims are currently listed in "critical" condition.  Although the identity of both victims has been tentatively established at this time, the names of the victims are being withheld until investigators can positively establish the identity of the two victims. 

After this fire was extinguished, the Fire and Arson Unit of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, along with personnel from the Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau, were dispatched to the scene to attempt to determine the cause and origin of the fire.  This investigation has not yet been completed, so the cause of the fire is not known at this time.  Investigators are continuing to examine the scene to gather additional information in an effort to determine how this fire started. 

Investigators have been able to determine that neither of the two females involved in this incident were residents of the home.  The lawful occupants of the residence were reportedly not at home at the time of this fire.  It is unclear at this time how these two females came to be inside of this residence. 

"We simply do not have a lot of information at this point," said Sheriff Kessler.  "We believe that we have established the identity of the two females, but until we are able to confirm this identification we are unable to release any names.  At this point we have no idea why these two females were inside of a residence where they do not live when no one else was home at the residence.  Our investigators are working to answer these and other questions and to determine how and why this fire started.  Additional information will be released as it becomes available." 

This incident remains under investigation by the Detective Bureau of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.  Anyone having any information concerning this fire is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (304) 255-7867 or the Fayette County 911 Center at (304) 574-3590.  You may also submit information through our department Facebook page, "Fayette County Sheriff's Department."  
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