BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — Counselors, clergy and social workers were providing services to students and staff members at Berkeley Springs High School Friday following the murder of student Riley Crossman.
Crossman, 15, was last seen the morning of May 8. Her mother thought she was going to school. Her decomposed body was found over an embankment in Berkeley County Thursday morning. Andy McCauley, 41, Riley’s mother’s boyfriend, is being held without bail charged with Riley’s murder.
Berkeley Springs High School Principal Mitch Nida told MetroNews Friday it’s been a roller coaster of a week at the school.
“It’s been a very tough week on staff and students, going from the unknown to the known and neither was easy,” Nida said.
He described Riley as a fairly quiet student.
“She was a good student. She was well-liked by a lot of students. One comment was made that her smile would light up the room,” Nida said.
There were initial questions about whether Crossman had run away or if something terrible had happened. Police were following both paths. Nida said he couldn’t see Riley running away from home.
“I personally thought it was uncharacteristic but you just never know in some situations or what’s going on with a family or a student in particular, but personally I thought that was uncharacteristic,” he said.
Investigators haven’t released a motive. They have said McCauley was a person of interest from early in the investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday at the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston.
Back home in Morgan County, Nida said the community would get through the tragedy by gaining strength from one another.
“Students are helping each other through this tragedy. Teachers are helping each other. Teachers are helping students. There’s a myriad of combinations that we’ve got but it just boils down to leaning on each other to get through this situation,” Nida said.
Counseling help will be available at the school as long as it’s needed.
“We have announced that all of these supports are available at any time. It would be up to the student to come down anytime they need. We have also directed staff to encourage students to come down if they are having a difficult time in class,” Nida said.