The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

September 4, 2009

FBI calls serial killer suspect in cold case

CLARKSBURG — A handyman who confessed to killing five people before committing suicide in June is now suspected in an unsolved 2004 slaying, and Clarksburg police said Thursday they will reopen that case at the urging of FBI behavioral experts who have declared James Childers a serial killer.

Childers, 45, of Clarksburg shot himself in a motel June 2 as police closed in to arrest him on murder and arson charges. He had mailed them a package of notes and a two-hour audiotape, confessing to four arsons and five murders.

Only two bodies have ever been found, those of 40-year-old Carolyn Sauerwein of Philippi, who had been shot twice in the head, and 26-year-old Carrie Lynn Baker of Clarksburg, who had been hit in the head with a blunt object.

Police Lt. Robert Matheny said the FBI’s report, which he read from but did not release, recommends West Virginia State Police re-examine a 96-acre property in Braxton County where Childers dumped one of the women.

Police will also work with the state medical examiner on the five-year-old case of a Clarksburg man found dead in his home. They would not identify the victim or comment on whether the man’s body would have to be exhumed, but Matheny said the victim knew Childers, whom the FBI now considers “the prime suspect.”

A second cold case will also be reviewed, but police did not offer any details about it.

Matheny warned, however, that without more bodies, fresh tips or witnesses, or some other new evidence, many questions about Childers may remain unanswered.

“When he took his own life, he took a lot of good information with him,” Matheny said.

If the next search of the family property is fruitless, Detective Mike Walsh said, the investigation could hit a dead end: “There will come a point when we’ve done all we can do.”

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

  • Cornhole champions being decided in Charleston

    Cornhole, the strange-sounding game made popular in backyards and at football tailgate parties, is taking on a serious side this week.
    The American Cornhole Organization will crown its world champions as about 380 competitors from 17 states vie for $10,000 in prize money in singles and doubles events.

    July 19, 2014

  • Multi-state distracted driving enforcement planned

    Law enforcement agencies in six states plan participate in a weeklong campaign targeting distracted driving.

    July 18, 2014

  • Female guard accused of having sex with juvenile inmate

    A West Virginia Division of Corrections officer has been charged with having sexual contact with a female juvenile inmate at the Lincoln Detention Center in Wheeling.

    July 18, 2014

  • Two charged in 1999 disappearance of W.Va. women

    Two men have been indicted on murder charges stemming from the 1999 disappearance of a West Virginia woman and her daughter.
    A Lewis County grand jury charged both Charles Stephen Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio, and Joseph Metz, 39, of Horner with two counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in a sealed indictment, media outlets reported.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads