BUCKHANNON – A wanted sex offender has been found dead, according to reports from the West Virginia State Police and the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department.
Edward Neil Phillips, 46, Belington, was recently found deceased in the Sand Run area of Barbour County. His remains were identified by the state medical examiner’s office, according to a press release from Barbour County Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter.
Carpenter is leading the investigation into the death and said it will remain open as he is still awaiting the results of the toxicology report and cause of death to be determined by the medical examiner’s office.
A warrant for Phillips’ arrest was issued in February by the West Virginia State Police for failure to provide notice of registration changes as a sexual offender. It was noted at that time he had absconded from his then address in Belington.
According to reports from the WVSP, Phillips had been arrested in 2016 and charged with one felony count of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Anyone with any information about Phillips’ death is asked to contact Carpenter at the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department at 304-457-2352
In federal court news, a Beverly woman has admitted to her role in a methamphetamine distribution operation, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Gina Carol McCauley, age 38, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine” and one count of “False Statement in Connection with the Acquisition of a Firearm.” McCauley admitted to conspiring with another to distribute methamphetamine in Randolph County from March to November of 2018. McCauley also admitted to lying to a firearms dealer when purchasing a .380 caliber pistol and 49 rounds of .380 caliber ammunition.
McCauley faces at least five years and up to 40 years incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000,000 for the drug count and up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the firearms charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, The Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the West Virginia State Police, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Buckhannon Police Department, and the Weston Police Department investigated.
The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.