POINT PLEASANT — A Gallipolis, Ohio man is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond after human remains were found just outside Point Pleasant over the weekend, with the suspect linked to a missing person’s case in Gallia County.
Richard A. Hurt, 47, appeared before Magistrate Cheryl Ross for arraignment who set that bond after he was charged with concealment of deceased body. He’s currently incarcerated at the Western Regional Jail.
The criminal complaint filed in Mason County Magistrate Court, states on Saturday night, troopers with the Mason County Post of the West Virginia State Police were called to respond to a complaint of possible human remains buried at a private residence located at 94 Abby Lane, Point Pleasant. Once on the scene, the remains were confirmed, buried in a shallow grave on the property. At the time of the discovery, troopers spoke with the homeowner who stated Hurt had recently done some work in the area where the body was located.
Troopers stressed the homeowner was not involved in the crime and was the person who found the remains hidden on their property. The homeowner then gave troopers a description of Hurt’s vehicle.
On Sunday morning, troopers spotted Hurt, initiating a traffic stop. Following this, Hurt agreed to give a voluntary statement, according to troopers.
Hurt states in the complaint that he dismembered the deceased victim, Jessica Berry, with a saw after she fatally overdosed on narcotics. According to the complaint, Hurt stated he placed the body parts into trash bags and transported them to the home on Abby Lane, where the remains were placed into a shallow grave and covered with dirt and rubble.
The complaint doesn’t state where Berry died. As reported by the Gallipolis Daily Tribune last week, according to Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning, a report dated July 24 indicated Berry’s family had not seen Berry, 32, for days and were growing concerned. Deputies spoke with the woman’s mother, Tammy Taylor, who stated her daughter had gotten into a red or maroon car with some friends in the evening at approximately 7:30 p.m. July 18.
As of Monday afternoon, the WVSP reports the victim’s remains have not been officially identified by the medical examiner in Charleston. At this point, the victim’s identification is based upon Hurt’s statement to troopers.
The WVSP are leading the investigation into the discovery of the remains and Hurt’s arrest, with assistance at the scene from its WVSP Crime Lab personnel, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.