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Uncle charged in W.Va. girl's death

September 23, 1997
(Page 2 of 2)

An unidentified witness later told an FBI agent that a car matching Michael Newell's was seen going up the narrow gravel back road off Poor House Road between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, court records said.

The witness said the car was white with a red front and left front side panel. Authorities showed the witness a Polaroid photo of Michael Newell's Bonneville, and the witness identified it, court records said.

Games-Neely said authorities were uncertain when Jessica Newell's body was dropped off at the site. She also said the exact time of the girl's death had not been determined.

Photos and baseball cards

On Friday, the first search warrant was served at Michael Newell's house and his wallet was seized.

According to the charging documents, only three photos were found in Michael Newell's wallet. All three were of his niece, Jessica Newell.

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Neighbors said FBI agents in unmarked cars staked out the house throughout the weekend.

On Sunday, FBI agents found a dark-colored black plastic bag about 1.2 miles from where Jessica Newell's body was found, court records said.

Inside was her right shoe, a plastic bag containing a wash cloth, and a pack of Basic Light cigarettes, the brand Michael Newell smokes and keeps in his bedroom, according to court records.

They also found baseball cards in the black plastic bag, court records said.

Shortly after noon on Sunday, the tires of the white Bonneville were removed and taken away by FBI agents, neighbors said.

The car sat on blocks in front of the house on Monday. An FBI agent at the scene said the tread marks on the vehicle were "of interest" to investigators.

Monday was a busy day at the home Michael Newell shared with his parents and a brother.

At about 10 a.m., about 15 FBI agents served another search warrant at the home.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dennis M. Lormel said he could not identify what authorities took from the home.

Michael Newell spent part of the afternoon in the living room. Lormel said Newell was not in custody throughout the day, but he was cooperative with authorities.

Agents met repeatedly in the landscaped front yard of the carefully kept brick home.

People started gathering outside shortly after the warrant was served. Some sat on porches. The crowd grew from a dozen to about 50 by 1 p.m. Traffic slowed as it passed the house.

While agents searched the house, the FBI Latent Print Section compared a fingerprint on the "Basic Lights" cigarette pack found in black plastic bag and Michael Newell's fingerprints, court records said. The fingerprints matched, court records alleged.

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