Can you help our state police solve one of these cold cases?
1. Pocahontas County Man Missing Since 2007
James Johansen was last seen in the Greenbrier County area on Wednesday, June 13, 2007, after completing the sale of his personal vehicle, according to the State Police. They believe he was to then travel to the Akron, Ohio area to purchase a new vehicle. Police say it is not known by what means he was to make this trip to Ohio. Johansen was a long time resident of the Greenbrier County area and his long time disappearance is unusual and troubling to his close friends. Anyone with any information regarding the disappearance contact the West Virginia State Police Lewisburg Detachment at 304-647-7600.
2. Elderly Man Gunned Down in Own Home in 1980 Elkins Murder
Retired coal miner Clarence “Moses” Riffle, 76, was shot to death and robbed in his own home outside Elkins on the evening of November 18, 1980. Police found a .410 gauge Westernfield bolt action shotgun at the scene of the crime. This weapon had the victim’s name written on a piece of paper hidden under the buttplate of the weapon. A news article from the time said Riffle’s house off U.S. Route 33 was not ransacked but had been gone through. There are still no leads in the case of this grisly murder. If you have information, call the State Police in Elkins at 304-637-0200.
3. “Brutal” 1978 Murder Near Beckley
State Police say retired coal miner Nick Johnson was brutal attacked in his home on June 8, 1978 in Sprague near Beckley. They say Johnson would frequent Barney’s Bar in Beckley. The Cold Case Unit is still looking for any clues; contact Sergeant Danny Swiger at 304-329-1101 or Sergeant Mike Spradlin at 304-647-7600.
4. Unidentified Asian Found in Greenbrier State Forest in 2002
The state police are still trying to find out whose body was discovered on September 26, 2002 in the Greenbrier State Forest by a passerby. The body of asian descent was found over an embankment along Greenbrier State Forest Road, also known as Harts Run. The body had a height between 4’2″ and 5’2″ and believed to be between 25 to 33 years old. One article of clothing found on the body—a pair of Mercata brand orange shorts—were only sold in Walmart stores in Mexico. Police say a blue Ford Escort was seen in the area and may possibly be linked to the crime. Any information please contact the WV State Police, Lewisburg Detachment at 304-647-7600.
5. Deadly 1997 Hit and Run in Dunbar
In late November of 1997, police found the body of missing Cecil E. Dowell along the eastbound entrance ramp of I-64 at Dunbar in Kanawha County. The 46-year-old had been reported missing since earlier in the month. Police came to believe Dowell was struck and killed by a vehicle—a 1984, ‘85 or ‘88 Glacier Blue colored Chrysler vehicle—the day he was reported missing. Police think Dowell may have been struck without the person driving know he was hit. Still police would like to close the file… call the State Police Winfield Detachment at 304-586-2000 if you have any info.
6. Nun Raped and Strangled in Wheeling Convent in 1977
A case many will remember remains unsolved. On June 13, 1977, 26-year-old Roberta Elam, a Postulant Nun, was raped and murdered in the middle of the day on the grounds of Mount Saint Joseph’s Convent. Police have interviewed thousands of witnesses and sent newly discovered DNA to labs—all to no avail. If you have information on this elusive case, please call the State Police right away.
7. Moundsville Woman Disappears in 1974
27-year-old Annita Price was last seen leaving her job at a local bar on the evening of May 30, 1974 in Marshall County. Police originally treated the disappearance as a case of someone leaving willingly, but the now-grown children Price left behind told WTRF in 2013 they don’t believe that. Police believe Price is dead, but are still searching for clues to what happened.