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Jackson County man charged with murder in death of missing wife

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. — A Jackson County man told police he killed his wife and buried her in a shallow grave.

James Kiser, 40, of Kenna, is charged with first degree murder in the death of Crystal Dawn Kiser, 36, Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford announced at a Friday afternoon news conference in Charleston.

Family members of Crystal Dawn Kiser reported her missing on August 11. They said they had last spoken to her two days earlier. Rutherford said the sheriff’s department began its investigation that day and spent several hundred hours reviewing residential and business surveillance video. James Kiser was interviewed by deputies Thursday and admitted to the murder, Rutherford said.

James Kiser

According to Kiser, he killed his wife during an argument at her grandmother’s home on Lessle Lane near Sissonville. He then took her body to a remote location near the community of Kentuck in Jackson County where he buried her in a shallow grave. The body was discovered early Friday morning, Rutherford said. Authorities will depend on an autopsy for positive identification.

“James Kiser, shortly after admitting, went with our detectives. They went to the location and he pointed out the location of the shallow grave,” Rutherford said. “The West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office, Investigators and Sheriff’s deputies from Kanawha County and Jackson County are on the scene.

“I want to stress right now that the body has not been positively identified as her, however, we have full confidence that it is her due to his statement given to detectives early this morning (Friday).”

Rutherford and Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Maryclaire Akers wouldn’t answer questions Friday about how Kiser was killed. They said the investigation was continuing.

“We are sad that it turned out this way,” Rutherford said. “But we are glad we are able to bring closure to her family and let them know where she is. Hopefully, justice will be served.”

Family and friends of Crystal Dawn Kiser gathered at Sissonville Middle School on August 29 for a prayer vigil.

Crystal Dawn Kiser

“We need to get the word out as much as possible,” Kelly Boggess George, Kiser’s cousin, told MetroNews at the vigil. “The family’s been going through everything you can imagine, plus we have a family member that’s very ill. Crystal’s grandmother is in the hospital, and she doesn’t know everything yet.”

George said Kiser would not leave without telling someone, especially her children.

“She’s always been there for her kids. She’s very active in 4-H with them. They do everything together,” she said.

James Kiser was taken to the South Central Regional Jail. He is being held without bail.

MetroNews reporter Jake Flatley contributed to this story. 

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