Police investigate former mayoral candidate in city slayings

Police investigate former mayoral candidate in city slayings

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Updated March 17, 2014

Police confirmed Friday that they would be investigating a former mayoral candidate arrested in West Virginia for a possible connection to the recent killings in the Port City, but said they are “nowhere close” to charging the man.

NBC4 reported Friday that 53-year-old Charles Severance was arrested in Wheeling, W.Va. Thursday as a fugitive with a weapons charge filed by Loudon County police. Severance ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1996 and 2000.

At a hearing Monday, Severance fought extradition back to Loudon County. The local prosecutor reportedly described him as a suspect in the unsolved murders, but police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal reiterated Monday that he is not wanted or charged in connection with any of the killings.

Nosal stressed Friday that Severance is not yet a person of interest in the case, although detectives will investigate him for a possible link to the killing last month of Ruthanne Lodato, as well as the slayings of Ronald Kirby in November and Nancy Dunning more than a decade ago. Police announced last week that similar, but inconclusive ballistics reports led them to investigate all three crimes together.

“We’re looking at all possibilities, but we are looking to see if he’s connected,” Nosal said. “Like all of the tips we’ve received, we investigate everything fully. But I want to stress that there are no Alexandria charges [against Severance].”