CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper is predicting the body of a homeless man, allegedly attacked to death by another man in Kanawha City over the weekend, is in the Kanawha River.
“With the cold weather and the types of injuries that he had, it is somewhat likely that he has sunk to the bottom,” Cooper said on Monday’s “580 Live” heard on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston.
The cold temperatures have been an issue for dive teams who have been searching the Kanawha River since the incident happened Saturday. The search resumed Monday.
“It’s very difficult, very difficult,” Cooper said of the cold weather. “They’ve been diligent and they’ve been dealing with the elements and doing their jobs. We hope to find a body today.”
The body of Brandon Robinson, 19, of Charleston, is who police are looking for. According to witnesses, Brian Thompson, 23, who is also homeless, attacked Robinson with a machete during a fight late Saturday night.
Investigators believe Thompson then stomped on Robinson’s head, dragged his body to a dock and threw him into the river.
Cooper said Thompson and Robinson knew each other. He said Thompson was staying in a tent by the river with a woman when the incident took place. Robinson, he said, approached the tent to ask the woman if she wanted to go to a hotel where it was warmer. Thompson became angry and then attacked Robinson, Cooper said.
Police charged Thompson with attempted murder and malicious wounding, however, Cooper said charges could be upgraded to murder once Robinson’s body is located.
“We are certain that he is likely deceased,” Cooper said.
This was the first murder of 2017 in the Capital City.