PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — When the body of 45-year-old Robert Gagliardi was discovered Tuesday along Worthington Creek, police said the apparent suicide likely was linked to the death of his roommate three days earlier.

Gagliardi had been interviewed by Parkersburg detectives Saturday when his roommate, Daniel Whipkey, 54, turned up dead. Police chief Joe Martin said Gagliardi’s initial alibi seemed plausible until Whipkey’s autopsy returned Monday from the state medical examiner.

“The ME’s office explained Mr. Whipkey’s death was ruled a homicide,” said Martin. “It appeared he had been beaten to death.”

That led police to re-examine Gagliardi’s story.

“It appears he was apparently feeling some guilt over the incident with Mr. Whipkey from Saturday,” said Martin. “We didn’t expect Gagliardi to take his own life or we would have brought him in sooner.”

Martin said police learned after Whipkey’s death, Gagliardi had gone to a friend’s home in Parkersburg on Monday and stolen a 9mm pistol. That was the same pistol found beside his body on the river bank.

Martin said when he first heard of the suicide, he anticipated the victim would be Curtis Richards, who is wanted in the death of a 1-year-old baby from Aug. 12 and hasn’t been seen since. The baby and a 3-year-old sibling were left in Richards’ care by his girlfriend. He claimed the older child strangled the baby. However, police said his story didn’t add up and he soon disappeared.

A nationwide manhunt involving the U.S. Marshal Service, FBI, and U.S. Secret Service is now underway. Police said Richards has ties to Beckley, St. Marys and Huntington.

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  • Colleen

    And why wasn't this pistol reported stolen and alibi for owner of gun should be checked was there gun residue found on Bobby's hand?and there more to Question on this I feel I just don't believe he would take his life

  • Colleen

    I would like answers I don't believe that bobby would have killed himself he was a survivor and not without speaking with his dad there is more too this and I think the police should really look into this more

  • Relative

    Daniel Whipkey is a relative of mine and this story does not give an accurate account of exactly what happened. The PPD did not let Mr. Gagliardi simply walk away. Danny’s death wasn’t ruled a homicide until 2 days later as there were no obvious signs as to why he died initially.

  • brenda raber

    thank u for ur news page as and older person who lives in wv on a fixed income to find a page that gives u news with out wanting u to pay for it.

  • Slingblade

    Since when does the U.S. Secret Service track down suspects such as this?

    • Dumb Liberals

      Secret Service are delegated to handle credit card investigations and have the technology to track them in real time. You swipe, they know.

      • Slingblade

        Makes sense. I knew they were under the dept of the treasury, just don't recall them being called out in any previous murder investigation that did not involve the potus. Oh well, hope they catch the guy.

  • Wood Co. Resident

    Thank you for reporting on this. Those of us in Wood County had no idea there was a suspicious death on Saturday. The television station didn't report in this until the second body was found. I have yet to see anything mentioned in the newspaper. That's why I have to read the Charleston Gazette and Metro News - to find out what's really going on in Parkersburg.

  • Dumb Liberals

    "... or we would have brought him in sooner.” This is the SECOND time where PPD have let a murder suspect walk. I'd say there is an issue with the defectives at PPD. That would translate to LAZY police work to which the CHIEF is ultimately responsible. The City should be considering a vote of no confidence.

    • Davey

      This story reminds me of how the Wood County Sheriff's Dept. dropped the ball in the death of Jaleayah Davis on I-77. A report had her getting ejected out of the passenger side window against a guard rail, yet she ended up on the roadway over 20 feet away from the car. There were numerous stories about a possible coverup, But I don't think anyone, the public in general, will ever know the truth.