BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. – Day three of witness testimony in the murder trial of Andy McCauley Jr. in Berkeley Springs featured a recorded conversation between the defendant and the victim’s mother as well as images of the teenager’s body as investigators found it over an embankment of Tuscarora Pike in Berkeley County.
15 year-old Riley Crossman was reported missing May 8th. Her remains were found May 16th in Berkeley County.
Andy McCauley, Jr. was the boyfriend of Riley’s mother. He’s been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a body and death of a child by child abuse.
First on the stand Wednesday morning was Brandy Eggeman, a dog handler who is a certified in human remains recovery along with her dog Rock. She testified Rock alerted to the odor of human decomposition in the back of a green Dodge Ram truck that has been the suspect vehicle throughout the case. Eggeman pointed to the driver’s side rear wheel weld in the back of the truck as the area Rock pointed out and also testified he alerted for the presence of decomposition to screws and ‘drywall on some foliage’ at the location where Riley Crossman’s body was found.
Defense attorney Daniel Kirkland pressed Eggeman on whether the dog could alert for something simple like blood from a bloody nose on a tissue to which the handler said, ‘Yes.’
“You don’t always know what (the dog) is hitting on. It’s not necessarily a human body,” Kirkland suggested.
“Correct,” said Eggeman.
Morgan County Prosecutor Dan James followed up: “If there was a body in the back of this truck wrapped in a trash bag bleeding from the mouth, would Rock alert?”
“Yes,” said Eggeman.
Jurors also saw footage of Riley Crossman’s remains where the investigators found them. She was wearing one shoe that was later identified as hers. Another was found within the trash bag with her body. She was wearing red underwear and blue denim shorts which West Virginia State Police Sgt. Jeanette See said “weren’t buttoned and weren’t zipped.” She also testified a white powdery substance was found on various parts of the victim’s body.
The remains were in a state of decomposition that witnesses throughout the day said required using dental records of Riley’s recent orthodontic spacers to help make a positive identification.
Also of note, three contractor grade trash bags found at the scene, two uphill from the remains and one under Riley’s body and wrapped around an arm, were taken into evidence. Two of those bags were unpacked from evidence bags by Sergeant See and held up so the jury could see their size.
Roofing screws that were located on the road above where the body was found were found to match roofing screws found under the driver’s side seat of the green Dodge Ram work truck.
Jurors also heard a lengthy May 15th recording between Chantal Oakley, the victim’s mother, and the defendant in which she tried to establish a timeline and details of where he had been the night of May 7th into May 8th.
Andy McCauley can be heard on the audio admitting to taking cocaine and heroin that night. “Did you shoot it? Were you speed balling?” Chantel can be heard asking. “If you did heroin and then coke, that’s speed balling. Were you in control of your facilities? You didn’t stumble into Riley’s room thinking it was me?”
“No,” McCauley can be heard saying. “Come on.”
“If you had made better choices that night and every other night up to then, you wouldn’t be in this position,” she said.
Testimony during the morning also established video and still images of the truck making the route from a work site in Hedgesville to Berkeley Springs then along the back roads from Winchester Grade Road and Hampshire Grade Road where witness Deborah Clavette said she saw the truck in question stopped with its flashers on and was waved on by someone who didn’t want to show his/her face, but who had “stringy hair.”
FBI Special Agent Ellen Duffy walked jurors through footage that showed the Dodge Ram truck in question driving down Tuscarora Pike toward Martinsburg before pulling into the ROCS gas station off West King Street in Martinsburg Andy McCauley Jr. can be seen getting out of the driver’s side then opening and closing the lid of the tool box in the back. He is also observed running into the store where interior cameras capture him quickly throwing money on the counter and running back out, putting gas in the truck then heading left out of the parking lot – all those times marked between 12:50 and 12:58 on the afternoon in question. Other investigators showed footage of the truck on a route from Hedgesville toward Berkeley Springs and then along Arden Nollville road during times that Andy McCauley had taken the truck from his work site in the Red Hill Subdivision.
Investigators show the truck on a route toward where the remains were found off Tuscarora Pike at 12:26 and then coming back at 12:49, within a timeline that prosecutors establish would have allowed the defendant to discard the victim’s body over the hill, find a place to turn around, then drive back past a home that had cameras off Arden Nolville Road.
During the May 15th audio between McCauley and Chantal Oakley, she said, “Everyone failed her (Riley). I know what you could have done – not be a junkie,” she told McCauley.
“I can’t figure out how she left our house,” Oakley said, sobbing in the audio. “So I’m stuck here with white boards and study notes wondering where she is.”
“I was leaving you any way,” she tells McCauley on the recording. “This is not the life I wanted for my kids.”
On Thursday, Prosecutor James plans to call forensic pathologist Dr. Piotr Kubiczek, two state forensics analysts, and the man who was in charge of the work crew Andy McCauley was part of on the day Riley Crossman was reported missing.
The defense anticipates calling witnesses for testimony that may take up next week.