With murder suspect search over, Monongalia County park set to reopen Tuesday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A Monongalia County park closed since last Friday because of a search for a murder suspect will reopen Tuesday.

Chestnut Ridge Park will reopen with private security to ensure public safety, according to Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom.

Arlo Whiteoak Romano

The park was closed Friday when deputies learned of a sighting of Arlo Romano, 42, of Morgantown, a suspect in a recent Monongalia County murder.

Bloom said it was the right decision to close the park.

“We have two priorities- to capture Romano and to make our citizens are safe,” Bloom said.

Romano began his current run from the law Wednesday when he fled deputies at the BFS store on Fairchance Road. Romano escaped to the Birch Hollow area and his last known location was the entrance to the park.

Romano is described as 5-feet 10-inches, 175 pounds, wearing a dark shirt, dark hair, beard and multiple tattoos.

“We do not know if someone is trying to help him,” Bloom said. “People need to remember he’s from this area, so he knows that area and it’s a very difficult wooded area.

Tom Bloom

Bloom said there’s been a full search of the area.

“We believe after 72 hours he’s either gone from the area or we’re going to able to capture him and hopefully that’s what is going to happen.”

Romano is accused in the May 7 drug-related killing of Matt Moore, 46. Court documents allege Romano and Cleotis Cotex-Paul Eppes, 42, of Harbor Woods, Michigan, shot Moore to death over “missing drugs.”

Eppes has been charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, felony conspiracy and first degree murder. Eppes is awaiting trial in the North Central Regional Jail.

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