The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 18, 2013

Charges to be filed in illegal body disposal

Hospitalized woman to be arrested upon release

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

— Nicholas County Prosecutor P.K. Milam said Saturday that a woman whom police sought to question about an elderly mother and daughter missing from Alabama will be charged in West Virginia with two counts of illegally disposing of a dead body.

Wanda Kiser, 61, was charged in July by Alabama authorities with 17 counts of forgery for allegedly cashing checks that belonged to 105-year-old Mary Cobb and her daughter, Wynona Delvecchio, 84, of Jasper. The women were reported missing in 2003, according to Alabama officials.

West Virginia State Police discovered the remains of two bodies Wednesday at a Summersville storage company. Milam said arrest warrants were issued in the hours following the discovery, but when troopers went to arrest Kiser, she had “taken a bunch of pills.”

Milam added that Kiser is hospitalized and will be arrested once she is released. No additional charges related to the bodies will be filed against Kiser in Nicholas County, he said. He added that additional charges may be filed in Alabama.

Kiser is fighting extradition to Alabama on the forgery charges, and the governor of Alabama has asked Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for assistance.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. R.D. Lilly said Friday that the owner of Stor-All storage company on Broad Street contacted police to report what appeared to be a human leg inside a unit into which he looked because the door was unsecured.

It is unclear who holds the lease on the storage unit.

“He saw what he believed to be a human leg, but he wasn’t sure,” Lilly said. “He told us he didn’t know if it was animal or human ... but as soon as we saw it, we knew. There was no question.”

After obtaining search warrants, troopers discovered the decomposed remains of two humans, Lilly reported.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office removed the remains to Charleston for identification, and Alabama authorities were assisting in identifying the bodies, he added.

Lilly said Kiser’s home was searched in July by Alabama investigators, Lilly and Cpl. D.P. White and that the Alabama authorities questioned Kiser about the disappearance of Cobb and Delvecchio.

“They didn’t discover anything,” Lilly reported. “They didn’t gain any new information, at that point, on the missing persons case that they were working.”

Kiser was convicted in federal court in 2005 of wire fraud for receiving and cashing $10,000 of Cobb’s United States Railroad Retirement Board benefits. Kiser served three years’ probation in Nicholas County on that charge.

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