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Affidavit: Woman hit with dumbell
In Ridgeway homicide
Sunday, September 9, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
An elderly Ridgeway woman was struck in the head with a 15-pound dumbbell after she was strangled, according to an affidavit filed in the Henry County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
Two search warrants were executed in connection with the death of Joyce Daily Mitchell, 74, of 270 King Air Ave. in Ridgeway. She was found dead in her home on Monday.
One search warrant was executed on Mitchell’s home; the other was on her 1998 burgundy Chrysler Concorde, according to the warrant.
An affidavit for the warrant on the vehicle stated, in part, that a man being questioned by authorities in connection with the case told Henry County Sheriff’s Inv. Chris Stovall that “he (allegedly) strangled the victim before he hit her in the head with a dumbbell.”
The man told Stovall that he then allegedly “took her keys and pocketbook and left the area” in Mitchell’s car, the affidavit stated.
Mitchell’s body was found by a neighbor, who went inside Mitchell’s home through an open back door, the affidavit stated. The neighbor found Mitchell on the floor in her bedroom with blood coming from her head and called 911, the affidavit stated.
Henry County Sheriff’s investigator Greg Lowery secured a warrant and prepared to enter Mitchell’s home. Mitchell’s debit card was found on the back porch under a chair near the open back door, the affidavit stated.
Mitchell was in a fetal position and partially clothed when she was found, the affidavit stated.
There were several red stains, which “appeared to be blood,” on the floor near Mitchell and on the bed, the affidavit stated. Lying near Mitchell’s head on the floor were two 15-pound dumbbells with red stains, it added.
After the body was found, a neighbor told investigators he saw Mitchell’s vehicle leave her driveway “at a rapid speed” around 11 p.m. Sunday, the affidavit stated.
Shortly after investigators put out a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for Mitchell’s car, a dispatcher told them that a park ranger found the Chrysler on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the affidavit stated.
Investigators received a tip that Arthur Gene McClard was staying in the area of the mobile home park where Mitchell lived, and he had been seen the day before (Sunday) by a relative who lives near Mitchell, the affidavit stated.
From 2006 to 2010, McClard lived in the Roanoke area near where Mitchell’s car was found, the affidavit stated.
Henry County Sheriff’s Lt. Eric Winn contacted the current owner of that home, and he was told that a white man came to that address earlier that day driving a burgundy Chrysler Concorde, the affidavit stated.
McClard, 37, initially was taken into custody by the Roanoke Police Department on a charge of vehicle larceny and for further questioning in connection with Mitchell’s death, authorities have said.
Later that day, he was charged with first-degree murder and robbery.
McClard is being held in the Henry County Jail with no bond.
Anyone with information about or related to the incident is asked to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 638-8751, or CrimeStoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463).
Rewards of up to $1,000 are available through the CrimeStoppers program for information related to unsolved crimes. The amount of any reward is determined by the nature of the crime and the substance of information provided.