BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The jury in the Andy McCauley Jr. trial on Thursday heard about the autopsy of Riley Crossman’s autopsy and a lengthy interview conducted with the defendant when the victim’s body was found.
Crossman, 15, was reported missing on May 8, 2019. Her remains were found days later over an embankment near Tuscarora Pike in Berkeley County. McCauley, 43, faces charges of first-degree murder, concealment of a body and death of a child by child abuse related to Crossman’s disappearance and death.
Thursday marked the fourth day of witness testimonies.
The state Medical Examiner’s Office received Crossman’s remains on May 17, 2019, and officials used dental records to identify the 15-year-old. The office also determined the cause of death as homicidal violence, yet it could not rule an exact cause because of decomposition.
Dr. Piotr Kubiczek, first deputy chief medical examiner with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, did not conduct the autopsy on the remains of Riley Crossman, but reviewed the report and reached similar conclusions.
Kubiczek testified the head, neck, and front of the chest was missing soft tissue including eyes and some internal organs. He also noted a chalky white substance located on parts of the body, which officials submitted as evidence.
Kubiczek testified that the remains were found on a “‘contractor-grade trash bag” with one shoe and a pair of long pants. He said the person was wearing a shirt with a Native American print and one shoe, which was untied. He testified the victim was also wearing shorts that were unzipped and unbuttoned, and their underwear appeared to have been ripped or torn.
“Can you rule out smothering as a cause of death?” Morgan County Prosecutor Dan James asked.
“No,” Kubiczek answered.
West Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Wolfe noted the shorts appeared “hiked up.”
“Unusually high,” he added. “They didn’t look comfortable.”
Wolfe also mentioned the presence of a “bright white substance” he believes to be drywall mud.
McCauley worked for construction company Ruark Enterprises at the time of Crossman’s disappearance. Owner Howard Ruark said McCauley and co-worker Johnny Walter rode together to a work site on May 8. According to Ruark, McCauley asked for trash bags to clean up a site.
“I’m pretty sure he took three,” Ruark said.
Prosecutors said camera footage along the route and eyewitness testimony show a green work truck traveling west toward Berkeley Springs then on a path that took him through Winchester Grade and Hampshire Grade roads, then to Tuscarora Pike and Apple Harvest Drive. The truck was spotted at the King Street ROCS convenience store later that afternoon.
Ruark testified McCauley returned to the worksite at the Red Hill subdivision hours later.
“Had Andy ever left your job site before for four or five hours?” James asked.
“No,” Ruark replied. “His shoes were untied and he was fixing his clothes back.”
McCauley said he went back home to get drugs, but his story changed throughout the investigation about the type of drugs and where he was going.
Two forensic analysts testified about the white powdery substance and the features of roofing screws found in the truck and on the tool belt.
Jurors additionally heard more than two hours of interrogation from the day when authorities found Crossman’s body. McCauley voluntarily came in for questioning. West Virginia State Police Corporal F. Edwards asked him several times about the route he took from Hedgesville to Berkeley Springs. The defendant said he took state Route 9 back, later amending the statement to say he took a detour near Route 9 to avoid construction. He denied ever being on Tuscarora Pike or Apple Harvest Drive that day.
The audio also captured the moments after Edwards said a body had been found but not identified.
“Wh-when will you know who it is?” McCauley asked. “Oh my God.”
He then asked if authorities had contacted Chantel Oakley, Crossman’s mother and McCauley’s partner. Edwards said they had not because authorities wanted a positive identification.
“I hope to God it’s not,” McCauley can be heard saying.
“She’s going to be a f—— mess.”
“Craziest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my f—— life.”
“Lord have mercy. Oh my Lord.”
McCauley also said, “She’s my f—— daughter. I love her like one of my own.”
Edwards told McCauley the West Virginia State Police had footage of the truck driving on Apple Harvest Drive.
“Maybe it’s the wrong truck,” McCauley said.
“It’s the truck,” Edwards responded. “Tags and everything.”
As many as five people could take the stand Friday on what is expected to be the final day of testimony for the state. The trial could conclude early next week.