The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 20, 2013

Experts called in to help ID remains of Nicholas bodies

The West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office called in experts from Washington, D.C., to help identify two sets of human remains found Wednesday in a Nicholas County storage unit, an Alabama prosecutor said Monday.

Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair added that Wanda Kiser, 61, of Nicholas County, for whom arrest warrants were issued in Nicholas County for two counts of  illegally disposing of a dead body, remained hospitalized in Summersville Monday morning.

Nicholas County Prosecutor James Milam said Saturday that when law enforcement went to her house to serve the warrants, they found she “had taken a bunch of pills.” She has been hospitalized since.

Adair did not say whether the storage unit was leased to Kiser, who is charged in Alabama with 17 counts of forgery for allegedly cashing retirement checks belonging to Mary Cobb, 105, and alimony checks of Cobb’s daughter, Wynona Delvecchio, 84, of Jasper, Ala.

Both Cobb and Delvecchio were checked out of an Alabama nursing home with assistance from Kiser in 2000, and they were reported missing in 2003, Alabama officials said.

A skull was found under Delvecchio’s home in 2012, and Alabama investigators had traveled to Nicholas County in July to question Kiser about the women’s disappearance, Nicholas police reported Friday.

No positive DNA matches or identification have yet been made to the two bodies or to the skull, Adair said Monday afternoon.

“Because of the length of the time, obviously, and the state we found them in, there are some difficulties surrounding (identification),” said Adair. “Although we are somewhat confident of what we have, we need to verify this and that’s taking the amount of time.”

Adair said Kiser and her husband had lived next door to Delvecchio prior to Delvecchio’s disappearance, which was reported to Jasper police in 2003.

Kiser was found guilty in federal court in West Virginia in 2006 of wire fraud for receiving $10,000 worth of Cobb’s retirement checks from the United States Railroad Retirement Board. She served three years’ probation.

Adair added that while Kiser is currently the only person charged with any crimes in relation to the missing persons case, “We have not closed off any avenue.

“At this point, there are some leads investigators are following up on.”

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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