Autopsy performed on Taylor County man whose head was severed; suspect in custody

GRAFTON, W.Va. — Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin says an autopsy performed Monday shows a Grafton man was dead before his head was separated from his body.

Nicholas Padron

Police have charged Nicholas Padron, 28, of Grafton, with first degree murder following the recent death of Michael Blackburn, 50, the father of Padron’s girlfriend.

“We did an autopsy today (Monday) and we’re fairly sure the victim was dead before the head was severed,” Austin told WAJR Radio.

Austin said Padron recently moved to Taylor County from Texas. He and his girlfriend, with her children, moved in with Blackburn.

Padron showed up at the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department Saturday and said he had committed a murder in Taylor County. Austin was then contacted.

“So, not knowing if this was a true story or not, they (Monongalia County detectives) got a hold of us. I grabbed a deputy and went up to do a welfare check,” Austin said.

Austin and the deputy went through the house and did not find evidence of a crime, and Blackburn’s daughter told police her father was gone and had not returned.

After Austin posed a series of questions to Padron through Monongalia County detectives they were able to determine there was a body.

“We were able to find the body and the head,” Austin said.

Austin would not elaborate on a possible motive. He said Blackburn’s daughter is not a suspect and CPS has been called to help with the children.

“This (investigation) is in steps,” he said. “We have vehicles to search, even though we’ve done a preliminary search of the house, we have a search warrant to finish things up in the house which will be executed in the next day or two.”

Austin said even with a confession, the investigation remains active in order to preserve any and all evidence.

“It’s not just cut and dried, we have to go trial on this,” Austin said. “I did charge him with first degree murder and we will be going for first degree murder without mercy and a lot has to come in play to get a conviction like that.”

Padron is being held without bail in the North Central Regional Jail.

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