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Death probe 'long way' from over, prosecutor says

August 25, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Investigators are still trying to figure who killed a 20-year-old Hedgesville, W.Va., woman and left her body in a Berkeley County subdivision.

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"We're a long way from indictments in this case. There's nothing clear-cut here," Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said Wednesday.

The body of Vatressa Maria Miller was found Aug. 10 in a wooded area in the Greystone on the Opequon subdivision.

An autopsy determined Miller died from blunt-force trauma to the head, but investigators are unsure how long she had been dead before her body was found.

Miller was last seen in Berkeley County on July 19, Games-Neely said.

Miller had been released on June 22 from the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, where she had been serving a one-year sentence for drug possession.

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The advanced state of decomposition of Miller's body hampered efforts to identify her and Games-Neely has refused to comment on how the identification was made.

"There are a lot of suspects and potential suspects in this case," Games-Neely said.

The position of Miller's body and the absence of clothing from the waist down have led to police to believe she may have been sexually assaulted, Games-Neely said.

Miller's body was supposed to be released to her family Wednesday but is being kept for further tests at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Charleston, W.Va., Games-Neely said.

A memorial service will be held for Miller at 4 p.m. Friday at Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg, according to the funeral home.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home Friday between 3:30 and 4 p.m.

Miller was the daughter of Michael A. Crist and Roxanne Roser Crist of Hedgesville and attended Hedgesville area schools, according to obituary information.

Miller's family could not be reached for comment.

Anyone who may have seen Miller on or after July 19 may call the Eastern Panhandle Violent Crimes Task Force at 304-267-0025.

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