CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cold weather hampered search efforts on the Kanawha River for the victim of what police called a machete attack during a fight late Saturday night at a makeshift Kanawha City campsite.
“The victim was hacked repeatedly with a machete,” said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives for Charleston police. “His head was stomped on and (he) appeared to be deceased, based on witness information.”
After the attack, Cooper said investigators believe the suspect, identified as Brian Thompson, 23, dragged the body of Brandon Robinson, 19, to a dock and threw it into the Kanawha River.
“They were acquaintances,” Cooper said. “Both men were generally homeless. The suspect actually stayed in a tent by the river and the altercation took place right there in that area.”
The area is near the Kanawha City Lowe’s.
The fight reportedly involved a woman.
As of Sunday afternoon, Thompson was awaiting arraignment on charges of attempted murder and malicious wounding, but those charges were expected to be upgraded to murder once Robinson’s body was recovered.
Dive teams were out on the Kanawha River Sunday, but frigid temperatures were complicating the search efforts.
“The weather is not on our side as far as finding a body in a body of water, at this point,” Cooper said on Sunday afternoon.
The Kanawha City murder was the first in Charleston for 2017.