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Female body found along creek in Berkeley County

August 22, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

SHANGHAI, W.VA. - The decomposed remains of a white female were found Sunday evening by two fishermen along Back Creek near the small, western Berkeley County community of Shanghai, West Virginia State Police said Monday.

The discovery of the "badly" deteriorated remains south of the intersection of Buck Hill Road and Tuscarora Pike was reported to authorities at 5:19 p.m., police said.

The remains were removed Sunday evening and taken to the state medical examiner's office in South Charleston, W.Va., early Monday, State Police Sgt. G.S. Petsko said. A cause of death and identity could not be confirmed, police said.

The death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.

Petsko said State Police Trooper R.D. Eshbaugh secured the scene overnight until 8 a.m. Monday. About a half hour later, three members of the Frederick County (Va.) Sheriff's Department dive team arrived to search for additional evidence.

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Dive team investigator Tim Juergens declined to say whether they found anything after completing their operation about 2 p.m. The dive team snorkeled in some shallow areas of the creek and searched deeper holes that ranged from 6 to 8 feet, he said.

A K-9 unit was expected to further investigate Monday afternoon a 500-yard area where the remains were found, Petsko said.

The fishermen who found the body were not identified. Three teenage boys who were riding bicycles near the scene Monday said the area of the creek was a popular fishing site for bass, trout and carp.

The boys said a State Police officer advised them to temporarily avoid going near a creek access ramp just north of what they called "Shanghai" bridge, which is next to the intersection of Buck Hill Road and Tuscarora Pike. Aside from fishing, people throw parties beneath the bridge, the boys said.

State Police were assisted by the state Division of Natural Resources, Back Creek Valley Fire Department and the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

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