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Investigations into missing person, death cases continue

July 07, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- West Virginia State Police have two mysteries on their hands -- a missing man and an unidentified body -- and they aren't speculating publicly about whether the two are related.

Stephen J. Tamburo Jr. of Morgan County has been missing since December.

In April, the body of a white male was found in the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area close to the Morgan -Berkeley County line. That body has not been identified.

Donald Tamburo, the brother of Stephen Tamburo, said he believes the body found in Sleepy Creek is that of his brother. 

Donald Tamburo, of Pasadena, Md., said waiting for the results of DNA tests has been hard for him.

"We were close," he said of his older brother.

"The medical examiner is not treating my brother with respect," Donald Tamburo said. "It's not normal that it has taken this long."

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Information made public so far is sketchy.

An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, W.Va., determined that the unidentified man died about two months before his body was found and that he did not die of natural causes.

1st Sgt. E.D. Burnett, West Virginia State Police district commander, said last week that he did not know why it was taking so long to identify the body.

Burnett said on Monday that because of the number of cases being investigated, it could take up to two months for the medical examiner's office to make an identification.

Cpl. A.T. Peer of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Berkeley Springs is in charge of the investigation into the missing Stephen Tamburo and of the body.

Sgt. S.E. Davis, the Berkeley Springs detachment commander, said Monday that the Tamburo investigation was ongoing, but that there was little new information.

Davis said he hoped the DNA results would be available soon.

"Once we find out the circumstances of the death, we will proceed from there," he said.

Stephen Tamburo, 62, of Shanghai Road, is the only case of a missing man being investigated by the state police in Berkeley Springs, Davis said.

A January release from state police described him as a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 140 pounds, and having brown hair and brown eyes.

Donald Tamburo said Monday that Peer and Davis were keeping him apprised of the investigation.

Tamburo said his family wants to put his brother's body to rest.

"He was a Marine Corps veteran and he volunteered to serve his country in Vietnam. He should be treated with more respect," he said.

Donald Tamburo said his brother planned to retire on Dec. 19 from his job as a truck driver for Venezia Trucking in Winchester, Va. He said his brother began driving trucks at age 50 and "he loved it."

Stephen Tamburo was a carpenter before he turned to trucking, his brother said.

"He loved his farm and his animals, and he was ready to retire," he said.

Stephen J. Tamburo Jr. was divorced, his brother said.

The missing man's son, Stephen J. Tamburo III, 39, of Shanghai Road, Berkeley Springs, has not been seen in the local area since mid-December, authorities said.

Peer has said police have been looking for the son to obtain information regarding his father.

Morgan County Prosecutor Debra MH McLaughlin said a Morgan County grand jury on April 15 indicted Stephen J. Tamburo III on 15 counts of prescription fraud. He did not appear for his arraignment.

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