Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Missing Person Case Now Homicide

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Missing Person Case Now Homicide

Article excerpt

Police are investigating a Charleston woman's disappearance earlier this year as a homicide, and have named her husband the suspect in the case. Although Starina Woods had been missing for several weeks, her husband, Arthur Owen Woods, never reported her disappearance to police and never tried to find her, according to search warrants in the case. Once they began investigating, police found that Starina Woods had complained about an abusive relationship with her husband, and discovered evidence of "a significant amount of blood" spilled at the couple's home.

The couple moved to the home on Lance Drive on March 9. Starina Woods was "last known to be alive" on the following day, March 10, according to search warrants. On that day, cell phone records show the couple's phones traveling to an area near Mount Lookout and Mount Nebo in Nicholas County, then returning to Charleston.

On March 11, Starina Woods' Facebook account linked to a news article about human remains found under the New River Gorge Bridge. The remains were believed to be those of Robert Kovack, a Virginia Tech student from Marion County who went missing in 1998.

More than two months later, on May 19, Woods was reported missing by her father's girlfriend, according to the warrants. Police interviewed her family and learned they had not heard from her in several weeks.

Owen Woods then told police that he believed his wife had stolen $29,000 from his bank account and run off to Ecuador with a previous husband after a "heated" incident on March 10. Police say he admitted the incident was violent.

Police found messages between Starina Woods and a friend, John Priest, in which she talks about her ongoing abusive relationship with her husband, and the possibility of taking money and fleeing to Ecuador with Priest. Police spoke to Priest, who said he had lost contact with Starina Woods after March.

Police found no record of a $29,000 withdrawal, and federal Homeland Security told them Starina Woods had never crossed the border.

Owen Woods never reported his wife missing or tried to contact her after her disappearance, according to the warrants.

Detectives used a chemical agent that can detect blood not visible to the eye, and found "a significant amount of blood" on the front door, stairs and living room area of the Woods' home, according to the search warrants. …

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