Detectives say remains found in Kanawha Falls not missing Fayett - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Detectives say remains found in Kanawha Falls not missing Fayette County woman


KANAWHA FALLS, W.Va. (WVVA) The case of a missing Fayette County woman is turned upside down as DNA testing reveals the remains found in Kanawha Falls in December, 2016 do not belong to her. 

After human remains were found by an artifact hunter in December of 2016 in Kanawha Falls, former Fayette County Sheriff's Dept. Capt. Jim Sizemore initially suspected they may belong to Sue Roop, a Fayette County woman who disappeared in 1979 from Bentree, W.Va., less than two miles from Kanawha Falls. 

But after extensive testing by the West Virginia Medical Examiner, Sheriff M.A. Fridley said Friday the remains do not belong to Roop. The remains were sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, Virginia where investigators released the following report: 

"The report indicates that the ancient remains contains the bones of three people. The report also indicates that the remains may possibly be a couple hundred years old, contrary to initial analysis."

Another investigator, former Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner, had also looked into whether human remains found on Bolt Mountain in 1993 belonged to Sue Roop. But DNA testing in July of 2017 showed they instead belonged to Margaret Dodd, a Raleigh County woman who went missing from Beaver, W.Va. in 1977.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Dept. asks anyone with information on the case to contact them at 304-574-3590 or through Crimestoppers at 304-255-STOP.  The incident remains under investigation by the Detective Bureau of the Sheriff's Dept. 

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FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) Fayette County sheriff's deputies say there is a strong possibility the remains found Tuesday belong to a woman missing since the 1970s. 

Sue Roop, 29, went missing in February of 1979. Deputies said Roop's children were waiting for their mother to come home that day to make Valentines boxes, but she never returned. The family lived in Bentree, near the Clay/ Nicholas County border. 

Capt. Jim Sizemore said he spoke to several retired officers after remains were discovered Tuesday in the Kanawha Falls area. He said Roop is the only missing person they were able to recall from that time period, where the body was never found.

Capt. Sizemore said the location where the remains were found are also close to where Roop had family at the time. 

According to Prosecuting Attorney Larry Harrah, investigators recovered some teeth and enough biological material for DNA analysis.


A homicide investigation is underway in Fayette County after a person searching for arrowheads stumbles upon a human skull.

The skull was found in the Kanawha Falls area near Gauley Bridge.

Deputies, along with investigators with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, began a search of the area Tuesday afternoon. They found other bones in what appears to have been a shallow grave. 

Sheriff-elect Mike Fridley said the human remains were buried there many years ago. 

"We know the bones are human, and appear to have been buried in a shallow grave, as opposed to having been randomly scattered through animal depredation," said Sheriff-elect Mike Fridley. "The initial analysis of the bones indicates they have been buried for several years, but not longer than fifty years, ruling out the probability that this is an old Native American or Civil War grave site."

According to Prosecuting Attorney Larry Harrah, investigators recovered some teeth and enough biological material for DNA analysis.

"If this is indeed determined to be a homicide, we will certainly continue with this investigation, no matter how old the remains may be," said Harrah.

More information will be released to the public as it becomes available. 

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