Body found in shallow grave likely that of missing Kanawha man
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A body found in a shallow grave in Raleigh County is likely that of Kareem Hunter, who went missing several weeks ago from Kanawha County, authorities said today.
Detectives from Raleigh and Kanawha counties were on the scene Thursday along with officials from the state Medical Examiner's Office as the body was being exhumed, said Cpl. Brian Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.
The body was discovered in a rural area of Beckley on Old Turnpike Road.
Humphreys said he could not discuss details of how it is believed the body is connected to a murder investigation in Kanawha County.
Kelsey Marie Legg, 20, is accused of luring Kareem Hunter, 28, to her Marmet apartment in September with plans to have him kidnapped, but detectives believe he was killed there instead.
Legg is charged with kidnapping and murder. She waived a preliminary hearing and the case is to be transferred to Kanawha Circuit Court to be presented to a grand jury. She is being held without bond in South Central Regional Jail.
Kareem Hunter was last seen Sept. 23. Charleston detectives investigating his disappearance went to Legg's 83rd Street apartment on Oct. 2 to look for clues. They found what they believed to be the scene of a violent crime and called detectives to get a search warrant. Despite a clean and freshly painted apartment, detectives found suspected blood stains throughout the home.
A disturbance was reported to Metro 911 on Sept. 23 when the suspect's brother told detectives he had heard an altercation at his sister's apartment and later saw two men carry Kareem Hunter's body out of the building and place it in the trunk of a car.
Surveillance video from Lowe's in Kanawha City showed Legg with two men on Sept. 24 buying paint and then again at the store with one man purchasing carpet.
Humphreys said Raleigh County authorities contacted Kanawha County officials asking they come to the scene where a body was found.
Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner held a news conference on Thursday morning when he stated there was a strong probability that the body was that of Kareem Hunter, Humpreys said.
Rain had washed away some dirt and the body was exposed to the weather for a brief time. However, detectives determined the body appeared to have the same physical description as Hunter, he said.
Detectives from Raleigh and Kanawha counties remained on the scene Thursday along with officials from the state Medical Examiner's Office as the body was exhumed, a process that would likely take several hours.
The body is now in the jurisdiction of Raleigh County authorities because it was found in that area. However, once officially linked to the murder investigation evidence will be released to Kanawha County.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at email@example.com or 304-348-1246.