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Traveling carnival worker killed 3 women in 18 days in Virginia

Discussion in 'Crimes' started by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed, May 17, 2019.

  1. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Three women went missing in 18 days. Police blame a serial killer in a traveling carnival.


    On the morning of March 19, a 23-year-old man veered over the centerline and collided headfirst with a school bus, contorting his silver Chevy pickup truck into a collection of scrap metal.

    The kids were all right. But the pickup driver, James Michael Wright, had to be airlifted to the hospital for a broken leg, hip and arm, as the wheelchair-bound man would soon tell his Facebook followers. Thoughts and prayers poured in from friends and family, as well as from workers at a traveling carnival.

    But amid all the sympathy, one comment stood out for its desperation — from a father searching frantically for his daughter.

    “Have u seen athina,” he wrote. “She is missing . . . people say she was with u . . . this is her dad.”

    The man left his phone number, but Wright was likely not to call. Just two days before the near-fatal bus crash, police say Wright fatally shot 25-year-old Athina Hopson in the head — ending an alleged 18-day killing rampage in Washington County, Va.

    Between Feb. 28 and March 17, police now say, Wright killed three women between the ages of 17 and 25 whom he met while working at the traveling carnival fairgrounds, luring them to Mendota, Va., where he lived, before fatally shooting them. At a Monday news conference, Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said Wright had been arrested on three charges of capital murder and that he confessed during a police interview.

    He claimed the shootings were all accidental, Newman said.

    “We find that hard to believe,” the sheriff said.

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  2. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Police say a man killed three women connected to a carnival. He says it was accidental.

    Authorities in Virginia wanted to ask James Michael Wright about a missing 25-year-old woman from Tennessee.

    But when they spoke with the 23-year-old, he admitted to killing that woman and also confessed to fatally shooting two others who were missing in Tennessee and Georgia, authorities said.

    Wright, 23, now faces three charges of capital murder for allegedly killing the three.

    The victims were all connected to the James H. Drew carnival. Athina Hopson, 25, and Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter, 22, were employees there; Joslyn Alsup, 17, was the daughter of a carnival worker, authorities said.

    Wright did not work for the carnival itself, the carnival said, but he worked occasionally for a livestock show called "Pony Express" that would bring animals to some of the same events.

    The investigation began about two weeks ago, when the Johnson City Tennessee Police Department contacted Washington County Sheriff's Office about interviewing a man in Washington County as part of a missing person case. Athina Hopson, the missing 25-year-old from Tennessee, was last seen with Wright, so the sheriff's office interviewed him, authorities said.

    Based on that interview, authorities then got a search warrant for Wright's truck, which had sustained major damage in a crash with a school bus on March 19. Hopson's cell phone was found in the truck, authorities said.

    Authorities then obtained and carried out a search warrant for Wright's home on May 9, police said. That same day, he came to the sheriff's office and spoke to Tennessee detectives familiar with the missing persons cases and confessed to killing three women, authorities said.

    One victim was identified as Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter, 22, of Carter County, Tennessee. She was killed on or about February 28, and Wright said her death was the result of an argument, according to the sheriff's office.

    On or about March 9, Wright allegedly shot and killed Joslyn Alsup, 17, from Cobb County, Georgia. She had been reported missing the day before, authorities said.

    Finally, Wright allegedly shot and killed Hopson on or about March 17, authorities said. As he was transporting her in the back of his truck, her body fell out of the truck and rolled down an embankment near a bridge, and he then put her body in the river, authorities said.

    Newman said he had plans to contact other jurisdictions that hosted the carnival to see if there are other missing persons.

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  3. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

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