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Police say bodies not likely linked

August 12, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The discovery of two women's badly decomposed bodies in the Eastern Panhandle since July 25 appears to be coincidental, a West Virginia State Police trooper said Thursday.

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"Our preliminary view is they are not linked," said Trooper Richard Shockey.

More autopsy studies will be needed to rule out the possibility of a connection, Shockey said.

Medical examiners have not been able to determine the cause of death in either case, or whether the women were sexually assaulted, said Shockey.

The trooper is investigating the death of Kimberly Dawn Alexander, who was found in a field along U.S. 340 near Cave Road just south of Charles Town on July 25.

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The body of another woman was found Tuesday night in an undeveloped section of Greystone on the Opequon, a subdivision off Greensburg Road in northern Berkeley County.

It appears the woman was beaten in the head and possibly sexually assaulted, said Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

The partially-clothed body was found at the end of Christian Tabler Drive, lying in a wooded area just off the edge of the road.

Police initially said the body may have been there three to four months, but now Games-Neely said investigators believe it could have been there as little as a week.

The body was moved from the scene early Wednesday and taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Charleston for an autopsy.

Medical examiners on Thursday were unable to release any information about the woman such as her estimated age, height or race, said Neil Policastro, an investigator with the Medical Examiner's office.

Some preliminary findings may be released today, he said.

Because the body is so decomposed, it may take a long time to determine the identity of the woman, Games-Neely said.

Games-Neely said she did not know of any reports of missing women in the area and the woman could be from anywhere.

The investigation into the woman's death is being led by the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, made up of four local police agencies, including West Virginia State Police.

The task force will not comment on the case and is directing all questions to Games-Neely.

Both deaths are being investigated as homicides unless autopsy results indicate otherwise.

State medical examiners in Morgantown have been working for about three weeks to determine Alexander's cause of death and are not expected to have any results until late next week, Shockey said.

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