The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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Police/Courts

April 15, 2014

Body found near Wyoming-Mercer county line

PINEVILLE — Human skeletal remains have been recovered near the mountainous border of Mercer and Wyoming counties, officials said Monday.

A search warrant was executed on the property of Oscar Ross Combs Sr., 44, of Bud, on April 10 in the Bud Mountain area of Wyoming County, near the border of Mercer County, Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Cochran said during a press conference Monday afternoon at the Wyoming County Courthouse.

During the search, Cochrane said troopers discovered human skeletal remains in a shallow makeshift grave.

On April 11, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution was brought in from Washington to assist with the examination and exhume the skeletal remains, investigators said.

A positive identification of the body is still pending.

“We hope that it will only take a couple weeks to identify the body, and once determined we will have a further announcement,” Cochran said.

Investigators believe that the body was in the shallow grave approximately a year.

Troopers say no additional details will be released at this time until the body has been identified, and charges have yet to be made.

Combs Sr. and his son Oscar Ross Combs Jr., 21, are both being held at Southern Regional Jail on unrelated charges of the first-degree murder of James “Bo” Butler of Summers County in November 2013. First Sgt. M.R. Crowder, district commander for the Princeton and Welch State Police detachments, confirmed the search warrant was executed on the property of Combs Sr.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported in late July 2013 of a missing Matoaka woman last seen in May 2013. Theresa Ford, 38, of Matoaka, was last seen May 16, 2013, in Hiawatha. Bud Mountain and Matoaka are 15.96 miles apart.

— Anne Elgin is writer for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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