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Prosecution rests in McCauley trial

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The prosecution in Andy McCauley Jr. rested its case on Friday with additional information about evidence recovered from the bedroom of 15-year-old Riley Crossman and testimony from Crossman’s friends.

McCauley has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a body, and death of a child by a custodian by child abuse in connection with Crossman’s May 2019 death and disappearance. Authorities found Crossman’s body over an embankment near Tuscarora Pike in Berkeley County.

McCauley, 43, was in a relationship with Crossman’s mother at the time of the incident.

West Virginia State Crime Lab Forensic Analyst David Miller showed the jury a pillow and ribbon from Crossman’s room and evidence of stains that tested positive for the teenager’s blood and saliva. Investigators discovered the blood and saliva samples from a bed comforter and sheet. Crossman’s blood was also present on underwear found on remains.

DNA expert Melissa Runyon from the state crime lab said McCauley’s DNA was present on blood samples from the bedroom and bathroom in the home. She added samples from the girl’s bedroom at the back of a green pick-up truck connected to McCauley were “inconclusive for a specific male DNA” because of the presence of a mix of at least two DNA present.”

James asked if DNA might not be present if hand washing or the use of gloves or a trash bag in handling the items might have occurred, to which Runyon answered such may be possible. She noted McCauley’s DNA was not found under the victim’s fingernails.

Jurors also heard from Dominic Mongold, who knew Crossman from church. He had also been incarcerated at the Eastern Regional Jail with McCauley.

Mongold testified the defendant asked him “multiple times a week” if Crossman had ever sent Mongold inappropriate pictures. Mongold said he told McCauley yes so he would quit asking the question. When asked under oath if the victim had ever sent him such photos, Mongold said no.

Ryan Burke, an FBI special agent and expert in historical cell site analysis, explained the locations of cell phones belonging to McCauley and the victim before and during Crossman’s disappearance. Burke said after 3:13 a.m. on May 8, 2019, the victim’s phone either went off, died, or went into airplane mode.

McCauley’s phone indicated location on the morning of May 8 that was contradictory to where he told investigators he had been that night; he previously said he had been at their home sleeping before saying he went to buy drugs. He had later said he went to buy drugs, on foot, then by car, and also changed stories about what drugs he had gone to buy.

Burke said McCauley’s phone was “fairly active” between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Investigators noted a number of calls and messages from the defendant to Don Morgan between 1:30 and 3:41, in which McCauley said he had been at Morgan’s house. He obscured his caller ID information in the phone calls.

McCauley had told police he texted Crossman on May 7, 2019 about performing chores. Burke testified the two did not exchange text messages.

Burke testified McCauley had hidden his caller ID and called Crossman’s phone three times. McCauley told police he had called because he had received a call from that number and did not recognize it, but Burke testified there is no record of a call coming from Crossman’s phone. 

Burke also said McCauley never attempted to call Crossman’s phone to see where she was after she was declared missing.

Two of Crossman’s friends took the stand, they wore purple. The first to testify was a minor identified as J.C.; she and Crossman became friends in middle school. 

J.C. said their last text message was at 12:30 a.m. on May 8, 2019. She said when she tried to respond to Crossman’s good night message, she didn’t get a response.

She also testified about leggings Crossman wore all the time and said she had given Crossman the shirt the victim was wearing when authorities discovered her body.

Reports from investigators who examined the remains said Riley had been found in short denim shorts and red panties that were pulled up “uncomfortably high” on the body.

“Had you ever seen the shorts she was found in?” James asked.

“No,” the witness said. “She always wore something stretchy and comfy.” 

The second witness, identified as H.L., was her boyfriend for nine months. He testified they could be connected on Facetime for days for companionship even though they might mute the sound in order to watch a video.

When asked if McCauley had been in Crossman’s room on the evening of May 7, 2019, H.L. said he heard him. He testified McCauley asked Crossman to come downstairs and clean dishes for money.

H.L. said he and Riley had messaged each other the evening of May 7th, but he went to bed early to get ready for a field trip to Washington, D.C. She seemed upset about him going on the field trip and worried he might talk to other girls. 

“We had an argument about the trip, so we muted ourselves and I fell asleep,” he said.

He said he went on the field trip the next day and thought it was strange he had not heard from her. H.L. stated he typically deleted messages every day so his parents wouldn’t see them, but remembered his iWatch retained exchanges. 

H.L. and his parents took the device to the police on May 10, 2019. Authorities noticed Crossman’s most recent messages.

“Andy’s in my room…Sh. Don’t say anything about it. He can hear everything,” Crossman texted.

“I’m scared.”

“Babe.”

Defense Attorney Andy Arnold made a motion before Judge Debra McLaughlin to dismiss the charges of first-degree murder and death of a child by a custodian by child abuse. James asked McLaughlin to reject the motion, citing the fact that McCauley had stated he thought of Crossman as a daughter and he was in charge of the kids when her mother and grandmother were not in the house.

“There is sufficient evidence in all three counts for the case to go to the jury,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin advised McCauley it is his decision alone whether to testify when the trial resumes next week.





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