Remains found in West Virginia may provide clues in cold case

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JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) – The Walker County District Attorney’s office is hoping that skeletal remains which have been found in West Virginia may provide clues and some closure in a case of two missing women who were last seen when they were checked out of a nursing home in Jasper in 2002.

D.A. Bill Adair says Wanda Kiser is facing new charges in West Virginia connected to the discovery of skeletal remains there.  She was indicted this summer in Walker County on forgery charges connected to her former neighbor Wynona Delvecchio and her mother Mary Cobb, according to Adair.

“There was a second arrest for Wanda Kiser who lives in West Virginia for either concealing a dead body or aiding and abetting somebody else in concealing a dead body she is right now as I understand it in custody of West Virginia authorities,” said Bill Adair, Walker County District Attorney.

Mary Cobb and her daughter Wynona Delvecchio have been missing more than a decade. Neighbors in the North Jasper neighborhood say Kiser lived across the street from Delvecchio. Police Chief Connie Rowe confirms Kiser is a former neighbor. Rowe says investigators believe Kiser befriended the two women.

She was indicted for forgery this summer for documents connected to her former neighbor Wynona Delvecchio and her mother Mary Cobb.

“In 2004 she was indicted by the US Attorney in West Virginia for wire fraud involving some of the mailings that occurred with Mrs. Cobb’s railroad retirement money,” said Bill Adair.

A skull was found under the crawl space of Delvecchio’s former home in 2012.

“In 2005 a thorough search was done of the crawl space of that house and the skull was not under there in 2005 and then it shows up in 2012 underneath the house,” said Adair.

DNA results from the skull are expected soon from the University of Texas, according to Adair.

Police also plan to compare the bones found in West Virginia to x-rays from one of the missing women.

“One of the sad things about this case is that we’ve got two elderly people being checked out of a nursing home that go missing never seen again. They have no family here. This tells us one of the crucial things going on in our state, we’ve got elderly people that are being preyed on by predators and this is an example of one,” said Adair.

“Our forgery cases involve the actual forging of specific documents here in Jasper. And like I said before the key to that is at that time the information we had didn’t allow us to do anything on a homicide or a potential homicide or a kidnapping, but it did allow us since there was no statute on the forgery to go forward on the forgery cases,” said Adair.

“I can also confirm that Jasper Police Department late yesterday afternoon got with a local orthopedic doctor here and retrieved x-rays  of one of our missing ladies from 10 years ago and that is being taken to West Virginia to their medical examiner’s office,” said Adair.“They’re hoping to get an identity on the skull they found here back in 2012 soon. I think right now we also have some reason to believe that there could be more information from what they found in West Virginia.”

Adair and Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe both say this is one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever handled.

Investigators say at the time they went missing one had fallen and had been in the nursing home about 6 weeks and the other one had been a resident of the nursing home for about 6 years. Authorities say the women went missing a short time after being checked out.

“When you have two adults who essentially vanish who just disappear off the face of the earth, of course it’s all allegations at this point and we’re still looking at what we’re finding up in West Virginia but what I can say for what we’re most thankful for is – I’m most thankful that… for the fact that whomever is responsible for the death of these two individuals – that they were not smart enough to get rid of these skeletal remains.  Because there had been many, many years in which that could have been accomplished and for whatever reason be it God’s grace or luck- whatever your terminology  is – that didn’t happen. And I am so thankful for that they’re there and with this I think we’re going to be able to tie something together,” said Rowe. “Whatever caused the demise of these two women I think somebody’s going to be held responsible for it.”

Former neighbor John Williams says he will be glad when there are answers and closure for the quiet street he’s lived on for nearly four decades.

“It’s always been a good neighborhood and anybody that would do that to two ladies that old they need to be punished as much as you can possibly punish them,” said former neighbor John Williams.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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