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Death upgraded to homicide in West Virginia

September 14, 2000

Death upgraded to homicide in West Virginia



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The death of a Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man after he was found along Hickory Lane in the West Ridge Hills subdivision over the weekend was being investigated as a homicide, a West Virginia State Police spokesman said Thursday.

Although state police have not officially labeled Michael Anthony McCroskey's death as a homicide, they will investigate it as one unless they determine he died from some other cause, said Sgt. D.A. Gunnoe.

"We are looking at a particular individual, but I am not going to give any names or details," Gunnoe said.

McCroskey, 36, of Route 1, was found laying along Hickory Lane last Friday night by Barbara West, with whom McCroskey had been living for years, state police said.

McCroskey did not want to go to the hospital, so West took him home, said Trooper M.L. Dickerson.

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The next morning about 4:30 a.m., West noticed McCroskey was not breathing and called 911, Dickerson said. Dickerson said by the time he and ambulance crews arrived at McCroskey's house, McCroskey was dead.

McCroskey had bruises on his face and head and it appeared he had been beaten up, said Jefferson County Coroner William Miller.

The state Medical Examiner's office was conducting an autopsy on the body, but the results were not available Thursday, Gunnoe said.

West Ridge Hills is in a wooded area on the Blue Ridge Mountain about 10 miles east of Charles Town off Chestnut Hill Road. Homes in the subdivision, which are a mix of mobile homes and houses, are widely dispersed among woods.

Some neighbors in the subdivision have been critical of police for not releasing information about the death until Wednesday. Neighbors said there are small children in the community and they should have been informed about the incident earlier so they could take steps to protect their families if necessary.

"The people are extremely concerned," said Mike Mood, president of the home owners association in West Ridge Hills.

Troopers and members of the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations returned Thursday afternoon to the spot on Hickory Lane where McCroskey was found Friday night. Officers were searching the area trying to find any forensic evidence they may have overlooked, Gunnoe said.

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