The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 3, 2011

Fayette man charged in Beckley dancer's stabbing death

BECKLEY — Raleigh County Sheriff’s deputies have tracked down a suspect in the death of a young Beckley dancer who was stabbed multiple times Sunday night.

At about 8:40 p.m. Sunday, the deputies responded to a stabbing in the 600 block of Myers Avenue in Beckley. They found Cyan Elizabeth Maroney, 25, of Beckley stabbed multiple times.

Maroney was pronounced dead after transport to a local hospital.

Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner said Monday that a lieutenant with his department was coming into the office to check paperwork when he received the call of the stabbing. Because the officer had come into work early, he was near the scene and the response time was “seconds,” according to Tanner.

“An ambulance responded and immediately transported her to a local hospital,” Tanner said. “She was pronounced dead there at the hospital. ... Very shortly we determined that Jeremy James Lambert, 30-years-old, from the Oak Hill area was our primary suspect.”

Lambert was a former Beckley City Police officer. He was hired in 2005, but was only employed for a short period of time. Before he could be certified by the West Virginia State Police Academy, he “elected to resign the first day” he went to the academy for training, Tanner said.

The motive behind the stabbing is not yet clear.

“We do not clearly know what happened,” Tanner said. “It appears there was a confrontation by him. He apparently came into the house and confronted her. She tried to get away from him by retreating to her bedroom. He forced himself into the bedroom and the witnesses said they could hear an attack.”

Tanner said they knew Lambert was driving a 1992 green Geo Tracker and that he fled the scene in that vehicle. Within a half-hour, officers had established communication with Lambert via his cellphone.

“I really don’t know why he didn’t stop his vehicle or simply turn himself in to local law enforcement,” Tanner said. “ ... I don’t know if I would call him driving around and not stopping for law enforcement cooperative. ... It was good that we had an open line of communication with him, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was cooperative.”

Though they asked him to stop, Lambert continued to drive for about three hours before officers could get him to pull over his vehicle. While staying in contact with officers and updating them on his position, he traveled through Greenbrier, Nicholas, Fayette and Raleigh counties. Sheriff’s departments from each county participated in locating Lambert.

He was finally stopped in the Ansted area in Fayette County and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held in the Southern Regional Jail where he will be held until a circuit court judge is available to set bond.

The house on Myers Avenue where Maroney was stabbed was occupied by four Mountain State University women, Tanner said.

The murder weapon had not been found as of Monday afternoon. Criminal history reports, evidence processing and some other portions of the investigation are still under way, Tanner said.

Maroney was attending Mountain State University, Tanner said. According to a release from the sheriff’s department, it is believed that Maroney and Lambert were in a romantic relationship.

According to a biography on the website of the West Virginia Dance Company, Maroney was a native of Renick and was a member of the Trillium Performing Youth in Lewisburg and West Virginia Dance Company.

She received a bachelor’s degree in dance from Connecticut College.

Though the incident location is bordered by the city, it is being investigated by the Raleigh County Sheriff’s office because it is within one of several “islands” that lie outside of the technical city limits, Tanner said.

Tanner said the area is fortunate to have such “good rapport” between different law enforcement agencies that are working 24 hours a day.

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

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