PARKERSBURG - Two arrests have been made in connection with the death of a 25-year-old Parkersburg woman, who was found in the trunk of her vehicle Thursday night.
Arthur Allen Thornton, 42, of 3509 6th Ave., Parkersburg, and Victor Lee Thompson, 34, of 906 Tygart St., Parkersburg, have been charged with concealing a deceased human body and conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body, both felonies, police said. They were arrested at about 5 p.m. Friday by Parkersburg police detectives.
The criminal complaint, filed in Wood County Magistrate Court, alleges that on Thursday the two men conspired to move the body of Brandy Marie Adams from the place of her death, 57 Meadowbrook Trailer Park, by placing her body in the trunk of a vehicle and transporting the body to the Seventh Street Car Wash in Parkersburg, officials said. The use of illegal drugs contributed to Adams' death, police said.
Thornton was taken into custody on warrants not related to Adams' death early Friday morning in Walker by the Wood County Sheriff's Office, Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force, and West Virginia State Police. The charges were four counts of forgery and four counts of uttering from the Wood County Sheriff's Office, along with one count of joy riding from the Parkersburg Police Department. A detainer was placed on Thornton by the Division of Parole, and he was sent to the North Central Regional Jail, officials said.
Thompson was brought to the Parkersburg Police Department for questioning Friday after being located by the Wood County Sheriff's Office and Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force. Following the interview, Parkersburg police detectives charged him for his alleged role in Adams' death, police said.
Thompson was arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court at 10 p.m. Friday; his bond was set at $150,000 by Magistrate Donna Jackson.
When Thompson attempted to ask why his bond was steep, the magistrate responded, "look at the charges, and don't ask again."
As of Friday at 10:30 p.m., Thompson did not make bond and was to be held at the regional jail pending a court hearing.
Parkersburg police Chief Joe Martin said police were searching for Adams Thursday as a possible missing person. A "be on the lookout" had been put out for her vehicle, he said.
Officials did not say how long Adams had been missing, only that they had received calls, increasing in concern, that led them to consider her as missing. Officials said the car had been at the car wash since early Thursday morning. The car was found by police at 8 p.m. Thursday at the car wash.
Adams, a Parkersburg South High School graduate who studied at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, had a 3-year-old daughter and worked as a food server, according to her Facebook page.
She had also had problems with drugs and alcohol and had a criminal record. She was convicted of theft charges in Wood, Washington and Wetzel counties within the last year.
In February 2012, Adams was in Wetzel County court, sentenced to 1-10 years for grand larceny from Wal-Mart. In court, according to the Wetzel Chronicle, she admitted battling drug and alcohol problems and told the judge her crimes were committed with the intent to buy drugs.
She received a suspended sentence and one year of probation to run concurrently with a similar sentence in Wood County.
Adams' body has been sent to the state medical examiner's office in Charleston for an autopsy. Sgt. Greg Collins of the Parkersburg Police Department said it will be several weeks before investigators receive toxicology reports, which will be a "crucial piece" of the case.
The investigation is ongoing and officials are not ruling out the possibility of additional persons being charged in the case, Collins said Friday evening.
"We will wait and see what the (medical examiner) comes back with," he said. "At this point, it's a slow process."
In the meantime, police will continue to conduct interviews and seek additional information.
Martin and Collins said contrary to rumors, law enforcement officials are dealing with only one body, whose complete cause of death is not yet known.
Martin said Fort Boreman was a point of interest, but labeled the tips as "misinformation."
Rumors were flying Friday that evidence, possibly a second body, had been found at Fort Boreman as law enforcement cordoned off the area Thursday evening. Martin said the Wood County Sheriff's Department was at Fort Boreman, but nothing was found.
"It turned out not to be accurate and we eliminated that as a crime scene," the chief said.
Martin said the body had nothing visual to lead investigators to appear she was murdered.