LAUREL CREEK - A 55 year-old Laurel Creek resident that was reported missing by a family member on Dec. 30, 2012, has now been declared a murder victim. The same relative that filed the missing person’s report with the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) is now behind bars - charged with 1st degree murder, concealment of a deceased human body and conspiracy.
According to information listed in the criminal complaint filed by WVSP Trooper J.J. Dean III, who was assisted by other officers from the Williamson Detachment, Evelyn Joyce Farnum was reported last seen at her residence on the Right Fork of Laurel Creek by her cousin, Donald Kevin Medley, 45, also of Laurel Creek, who was the one providing the information. Donald told police that Farnum left the home between 10:30 and 11 p.m. on the 30th in her black 2003 Jeep Liberty without disclosing her destination, but had allegedly left her purse, cell phone and other belongings behind. A search for the missing woman that included both ground and air units ensued and continued through Saturday, when the investigating trooper received information that turned the search into a recovery mission.
An unnamed person who is said to have witnessed Donald rolling the Jeep into the Laurel Lake containing Furnam’s body came forward and gave the trooper the break he was waiting for. The brother of the defendant, Gregory Medley, 44, was also said to have been present during the incident, and told Trooper Dean that his brother called him and asked him to come to the lake to help dispose of the body and vehicle but claimed that all he did was stand and watch, saying that the vehicle was going into the water when he arrived.
Gregory was arrested at the same time as his brother and was charged with concealment of a deceased human body and conspiracy, which are felonies that carry possible sentences of 1-5 and 1-10 years in prison, plus a fine.
The charge of 1st degree murder was added to Donald’s charges after he is said to have confessed to killing Furnam while being questioned at the WVSP Williamson Detachment. According to the paperwork filed by Trooper Dean that was entered in Mingo County Magistrate Court, Donald read and signed an Interview and Miranda Rights form and then admitted that on Dec. 30, he became angry with the victim and struck her in the face and then choked her until she was dead. It further stated that he continued to strike her repeatedly in the face after she was deceased. He then loaded her body into the vehicle, telephoned his brother and asked for assistance, drove to Laurel Lake and proceeded to shove the SUV into the water.
The location of the vehicle was reportedly discovered by sonar equipment and divers and law enforcement retrieved it from the waters Sunday morning, with the deceased inside. The body will be sent to the WV State Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston for an autopsy.
Both defendants were arraigned Saturday evening before Mingo County Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler and each had bond set at $200,000 full-cash, on the concealment of a deceased human body and concealment charges. Donald was arraigned on the additional charge of 1st degree murder which is a capital offense, and appeared in Circuit Court Monday morning before the Honorable Judge Michael Thornsbury for the additional arraignment process. No bond was set on the murder charge. Both defendants remain incarcerated in the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden.
Further information from the investigation will be released to the public concerning this case as it becomes available.