A man has been charged with murder in the death of a missing 15-year-old West Virginia girl whose body was found Thursday morning, the Morgan County sheriff said.
Fifteen-year-old Riley Crossman, of Berkeley Springs, was last seen the evening of May 7, though a video call was placed from the teen’s phone to her boyfriend at 5:40 a.m. the following morning, her mother, Chantel Oakley, told "Dateline" earlier this week.
Oakley said it wasn’t until Riley didn’t come home from school May 8 that the family began to worry something was wrong.
West Virginia Natural Resources Police officers assisting in the search for Riley discovered a decomposing body in a rural area of Berkeley County, according to Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer.
Official identification of the body will be made by a pathologist, but investigators believe the body to be Riley, the sheriff said.
Andy J. McCauley Jr., 41, is charged with murder. He is the boyfriend of Riley's mother, Bohrer said.
The case stunned the small town in the state’s Eastern Panhandle.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered to canvas parts of Morgan County in a coordinated search led by the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement agencies from across the region, including Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, reportedly assisted in the search.
Bohrer previously said authorities were “almost certain” Riley didn’t disappear of her own volition, according to The Herald Mail.
Riley’s father, Lance Crossman, told News4’s Erika Gonzalez Wednesday the family believed the teen was abducted, saying she wouldn’t have run away from home.
He shared an emotional plea recorded on video by Riley’s 12-year-old sister, Jade.
“I’m scared for her safety and I’m scared that I’m never going to see my sister again,” Jade Crossman said, calling Riley her “best friend.”
In the recording, Jade added: “Riley, if you’re out there, just please come home. Whoever has Riley, just please bring her home safely.”
Counselors will be made available at Berkeley Springs High School, which Riley attended.
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among others, are also involved in the investigation, according to a press release issued by Bohrer’s office Wednesday.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office at 304-258-1067 or 911.