Hampshire County Sheriff John Alkire
SLANESVILLE, W.Va. — Hampshire County Sheriff John Alkire said Monday he doesn’t know when police would have found out about a Slanesville man’s murder if it had not been for an alert resident who contacted them.
Sheriff John Alkire and deputies are continuing their investigation into the Thursday morning death of Michael O’Hara. His body was found wrapped in a blue tarp in the Cacapon River. Deputies have charged his estranged wife, Mandy O’Hara, 36, John Shoemaker, 21, and Gabriella Clutter, 21, all of Capon Bridge, in connection with the murder.
Police have not released a motive.
Alkire said the resident was driving on Hickory Corner Road Thursday morning when he saw Mandy O’Hara and Shoemaker in a car dragging a body that had come untied from the back of the car. He initially confronted them, they drove away and he drove to an area where he could call police.
“He not only gave us suspect information and vehicle information but he gave us a head start on this investigation that we wouldn’t have had without this witness,” Sheriff Alkire said.
Investigators believe while the witness was gone, O’Hara and Shoemaker returned to the area and retied the body to the back of the vehicle and dragged it more than three miles to the Cacapon River.
Sheriff Alkire said he believes the witness called within an hour of the murder.
“This allowed us to jump on the scene before evidence was destroyed or altered,” he said.
Police were able to track marks on the road to the river and then waded the water to recover Michael O’Hara’s murdered body.
Sheriff Alkire said a crime like this is very unusual for Hampshire County.
“The community is shocked with having something as brutal as this incident was.”
O’Hara, Shoemaker and Clutter remain in jail without bail. Sheriff Alkire said investigators don’t believe Clutter was at the murder scene.