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Missing man's body found in woods near home

April 21, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - The body of a man who had been missing for nearly a month was found Wednesday morning in a wooded area behind his home, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

James "Jim" Amster, 52, was last heard from when he called his mother March 24. Last Friday, officers with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department issued a press release asking for the public's help in finding Amster.

Amster was not wanted by police but officers were seeking help with finding him because his family members were worried, Cpl. Brendan Hall said.

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Officers with search and rescue K-9s, including dogs that specialize in finding bodies, searched Amster's property at 124 Hatchery Road on Wednesday morning. Much of the 5 acres consists of overgrown woods, Hall said.

Amster's body, which police said was in an advanced stage of decomposition, was found about 100 yards from his house. A .32-caliber handgun was found with the body, Hall said.

Police do not suspect foul play but Amster's body is scheduled to be taken today to the state medical examiner's office in South Charleston, W.Va., for an autopsy, Hall said.

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