BECKLEY, W.Va. — The state Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy on the human remains found in a shallow grave near Beckley Wednesday. Police believe it’s the body of 29-year-old Charleston resident Kareem Hunter.
Hunter was originally reported missing in September. Kanawha County deputies believe he was murdered in a Marmet apartment. They’ve charged resident Kelsey Legg, 20, with murder and are looking for two men. Their names haven’t been released.
Kanawha County Sheriff’s Dept. Cpl. Brian Humphreys said the remains were found in a shallow grave not far from the West Virginia Turnpike’s Harper Road exit. He said a lot of credit should go to Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner who had Kanawha County detectives contacted shortly after the discovery.
“He wanted them to be involved from the ground up in case the evidence needs to be turned over to our detectives at some point in the future,” Humphreys said.
The remains were removed from the grave by early Thursday afternoon. Humphreys said some decomposing had started to take place but the remains resemble Hunter’s physical features.
“You’re looking at about 6 weeks since the date of the crime,” Humphreys said. “So probably 6 weeks he’s been buried, exposed to the elements in some fashion.”
But a cooler than fall may end up helping investigators Humphreys said.
“The sheriff of Raleigh County noted there’s been a lot more cold weather lately than what is typical for this time of year and with the colder temperatures that may have worked out to our benefit as far as preservation of the evidence,” Humphreys said.
Hunter’s parents have been notified.
Cpl. Humphreys said an autopsy should provide additional information.
“We will hope to be able to identify and determine a cause of death,” he said.