The last known words from a West Virginia teen who police have said was killed by her mother’s partner came through a text message saying he was near and she was afraid, authorities said.
Riley Crossman texted her own boyfriend saying the man her mother was dating was in her room at 11:01 p.m. on May 7, prosecutors said during a preliminary hearing for Andy J. McCauley, the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported.
“I’m scared, babe,” Riley, 15, wrote to her boyfriend 12 minutes later.
Riley was reported missing May 8.
Her father wrote on Facebook that day that Riley had “not been seen since she went to bed” the night before. “She did not attend school and has not used her phone,“ he continued.
Law enforcement launched an extensive search for Riley, who had been staying with her mother in Berkeley Springs when she disappeared.
Then on May 16, Riley’s body was found on a steep cliff near the top of a mountain. Her remains were in an advanced state of decomposition, officials said. It may take months to determine the cause and manner of her death, if possible at all, prosecutors reportedly said.
“Our hope was shattered and our lives will be forever altered. We now have to come to terms with the new reality that we will not bring our baby home alive,” her father wrote on Facebook. “We are thankful that she has been found and can begin to grieve as a family.”
Police said statements 41-year-old McCauley made during interviews with investigators have allegedly been inconsistent with each other and also conflict surveillance video footage, other evidence and witness statements, according to the Herald-Mail.
Physical evidence, including drywall mud and sheet-metal screws, found with Riley’s body, reportedly link McCauley to her death. The same kind of drywall mud and screws were found in a work truck McCauley admitted to driving May 8, West Virginia State Police Cpl. F.H. Edwards reportedly testified. A cadaver dog also allegedly detected the odor of a deceased person in the truck, Edwards said.
Surveillance footage obtained from a property less than two miles from where Riley’s body was discovered allegedly showed a truck matching the vehicle McCauley admitted driving traveling toward what would become a crime scene, and then driving back in the opposite direction less than a half-hour later, Edwards said.
Other evidence allegedly linking McCauley to Riley’s death include records showing he called her cellphone from a blocked number three times between 3 and 4 a.m. on May 7.
A motive in the killing was not immediately clear.
McCauley remains in police custody without bail and has not yet pleaded to the charges.