‘No one simply disappears’: Hanover lacking particular person case turns lethal after stays present in Southampton
HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The search for a missing Mechanicsville woman has come to an end and a murder case has now been opened after her remains were found about an hour and a half from where she went missing.
According to a publication, Karen Louise Ryan, 65, was reported missing on May 28 by family members after they said they last spoke to her on the phone on May 26.
“We immediately put her missing on the state and national databases,” Lieutenant James Cooper of the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office told 8News. “They basically told us that they hadn’t seen or heard from them for the past few days, and that was very unusual.”
PREVIOUS SIGNIFICANCE: 65-year-old Hanoverian missing for 13 days
The photo of Karen Louise Ryan, 65, was provided by the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office
Relatives told authorities Ryan was last seen at her home on Rural Point Road on May 25. According to Cooper, the sheriff’s deputies went there first to carry out a social check.
“When we were on site at her apartment, we noticed that her vehicle was still parked in the driveway, which we found a little odd,” he said. “We contacted her family who let us into their home and we searched their home thoroughly and searched their property thoroughly with negative results.”
Authorities said Ryan lived alone. With no sign of her at her home, they expanded their search.
“We conducted several neighborhood surveys over the next few days, even weeks, speaking to neighbors to see if they saw or heard anything, again with negative results,” Cooper said. “We just kept expanding our search, eventually to the point where we searched the Rural Point Road area, the forest. We had deputies walking through the woods. We used our K-9s for the police.”
PREVIOUS REPORTING: Two authorities are investigating the murder of a 65-year-old woman from Hanover
Lt. Cooper said the sheriff’s office conducted more than physical searches of specific areas in the county.
“Our investigators began executing multiple search warrants on their financial accounts to see if any transactions were made, and we found that absolutely no transactions were made,” he said. “We found that strange.”
Finally said Lt. Cooper that Ryan was not found until late June, but with tragic results.
“They found skeletons […] in Southampton has contacted her sheriff’s office,” he said. “They saw that we had a recently missing person from the district of Hanover, so they contacted us and we knew there was a possibility that it could be her. But of course we didn’t know that for sure until the coroner recently positively identified her.”
Image of a patch of grass showing the general area where the remains of Karen Louise Ryan were located. Photo Credit: Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office announced the case was no longer a missing person and was a homicide. This determination was made based on the findings of the coroner’s report.
Major Camden Cobb of the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office told 8News that Ryan’s remains were found by the owner of the property where they were found. Lt. Cooper clarified that it was in a rural area of Drewryville, at least 70 miles from where Ryan lived.
8News also asked Cobb if authorities had identified any potential suspects, but was told the sheriff’s office does not release such information unless warrants are in place.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Murder investigation begins after remains found in Virginia identified as 65-year-old Hanoverian
Map showing the geography of Mechanicsville where Karen Louise Ryan lived in relation to Drewryville where Ryan’s remains were found. Courtesy of the staff at Channel 8News.
Those who said they have previously worked with Ryan told 8News that through her work in Hanover County Community Service she has helped many people and changed the lives of those who faced challenges on a daily basis and they hope that the Person or persons responsible for their deaths will be caught. Ryan’s obituary noted that she had two daughters and was an animal lover.
“Whenever we receive any type of missing persons report, we will all take it very seriously because sometimes we view our contact as a form of last resort,” Lt. Cooper. “We have a feeling the family will do everything they can to find her and if they can’t find her they contact us. So you are concerned. Of course we will be concerned and will do everything we can to locate her loved one.”
The homicide investigation is now being directed by the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Detective B. Grizzard at 757-653-2100.