FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The Raleigh County Crime Stoppers are offering a $1,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of a woman who has been missing since 1979.
“Just hoping that may shake something lose–that someone will call in and provide information,” Captain Jim Sizemore of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Sue Roop, 30 years old at the time of her disappearance, hasn’t been seen since February 12, 1979, when she was last seen at her home in Bentree, West Virginia.
Investigators believe human remains, discovered in late December in the Kanawha Falls region of Fayette County, could belong to Roop. Sizemore expects DNA testing to take several months, meaning they can’t scientifically link the remains to Roop yet.
Until then, the Sheriff’s Department is proceeding with the discovery of the human remains and Roop’s disappearance as two separate–albeit linked–investigations.
“It’s a missing person’s case,” Sizemore said. “She’s been missing since 1979. There’s never been any indication of life from her during that time period. So we are proceeding with that as a murder investigation.”
“Whether or not these remains turn out to be her or not, we’re opening this and working it as a homicide investigation on the disappearance of Sue Roop.”
The DNA testing from the remains found in Kanawha Falls will be matched against DNA from three family members of Roop: a sister and two of her daughters.
But even if the Kanwaha Falls remains, which were discovered in a shallow grave, don’t belong to Roop, Sizemore said the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department will proceed investigating the 38-year-old disappearance as a homicide.
“We are working this as a homicide investigation whether we have a body or not,” he said. “There’s enough there, enough circumstantial evidence, to indicate that she was feloniously killed. And we’re going to proceed with our investigation in that direction.”
A number of different agencies have investigated over the course of 38 years. They include, but are not limited to, various detachments of the West Virginia State Police and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re just looking at this from a standpoint that, whether these remains are her or not, she’s obviously deceased,” Sizemore said. “No one has seen her in 40 years.”
That’s one of several reasons why the Crime Stoppers reward has been offered. There’s another reason as well: at the moment, the Department doesn’t have a suspect for the crime despite decades passing since Roop’s disappearance.
“There’s been a lot of investigators who have put a lot of time into this case,” he said.
Sizemore said investigators will look at Raymond Lee Roop Jr., who was at one point married to Sue Roop. According to Sizemore, the two had become estranged before Sue Roop’s disappearance.
“I can’t say that he is or is not a suspect,” he said. “Obviously, any time that you have a murder in connection with a divorce proceeding, the ex-spouse is always a suspect. But, there is no information that we would have to file charges at this point.”
Anyone with any information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at (304) 255-7867.