Luke Stout / Photo courtesy of the West Virginia State Police

Police search area near Bull Run Road in connection to unsolved disappearance of Upshur County man

BUCKHANNON – For the second time in six months, law enforcement officers have executed a search warrant in connection to the unsolved disappearance of an Upshur County man nearly 11 years ago.

Cpl. S.W. Shahan with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police said state police officers recently received a credible tip regarding the disappearance of Luke Stout and executed the warrant Friday, May 12, in an area along Bull Run Road.

“We received another tip and searched the area but didn’t find anything,” Shahan told My Buckhannon Tuesday.

Shahan said the West Virginia State Police Crime Scene Response Team, along with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, searched the area in question for approximately 10 hours, but the dig wasn’t as involved as the one that occurred in December 2022 when state troopers and the FBI’s Evidence Response Team supervised a three-day excavation of another site located along the Old Elkins Road near the old 33 Mini-Mart close to the Upshur-Randolph County line.

No evidence was unearthed then, either.

Stout was last seen July 18, 2012, walking down the driveway of his mother’s residence on Hickory Flat Road carrying a bicycle frame. He was reported missing to the State Police three days later.

The area of the most recent search along Bull Run Road is notable since shortly after Stout was reported missing in 2012, West Virginia State Police confirmed they were investigating whether there could be a link between Stout’s disappearance and the murder of Joshua Oberg earlier that year. Oberg’s body was found buried in a shallow grave along Bull Run Road in an outlying area of Upshur County on July 23, 2012 – less than a week after Stout went missing. However, no concrete link between the two cases was ever established.

According to previous My Buckhannon reporting, Oberg was killed in January 2012 as part of a murder-for-hire plot. Rodolpho “Chino” Villagomez Correa was accused of paying two men, Jesse Lee Heater and Robert Eugene Siron III, $5,000 to kill Oberg for having an affair with his wife. According to court documents, Heater fatally shot Oberg on Jan. 23, 2012.

Shahan said deciding whether tips in the case are credible “is a process,” especially since nearly 11 years have passed since Stout’s disappearance and most information is spread via word of mouth.

“We interview and conduct investigations into the legitimacy of the tip, and we look at whether the tip is consistent with the information we’ve received in the past,” Shahan said. “We look for whether the information from the source of the tip lines up with the facts of the case – because we have established certain facts.”

During the course of the December 2022 search along the Old Elkins Road, the late Carl ‘Cracker’ Tenney said he was the owner of the property the police were searching for Stout’s body. At the time, Tenney said he did not know if Stout’s body was on the property or how it may have gotten there. Ultimately, nothing was found.

You can read more about the circumstances surrounding the Luke Stout case here.

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