WV State Police make murder arrest in 15-year-old cold case

The West Virginia State Police have arrested a man living in Texas for a murder allegedly committed more than 15 years ago in Greenbrier County.

According to the press release, “In June 2007, the WVSP-Lewisburg Detachment received a missing person complaint pertaining to James Johansen, a 53-year-old male from the Lewisburg, Greenbrier County area. Mr. Johansen had not been contacted by friends or neighbors for a period of time before his disappearance.

“After an extensive investigation by numerous West Virginia State Troopers over the next 14 years, a break in the case emerged when the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office received a call in September of 2021 regarding skeletal remains located near Muddy Creek Mountain in Greenbrier County. The Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office crime scene team along with members of the WVSP-Lewisburg Detachment collected the remains and other evidence at the scene. The Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office completed a crime scene report and eventually discovered the remains belonged to James Johansen.

“Members of the WVSP-Lewisburg Detachment and WVSP-Bureau of Criminal Investigations continued the investigation based on the discovery of Mr. Johansen’s body and the previous investigative report. After investigating new and old leads, Troopers presented Greenbrier County Prosecutor Pat Via with an investigative report.

“In October of 2022, Mr. Via presented the case to the Greenbrier County Grand Jury, which returned indictments against Charles Michael “Cason” Kessinger for Murder and 1st Degree Robbery. That same month, West Virginia State Troopers traveled to San Antonio, TX where Mr. Kessinger was arrested at his home by the Texas Rangers and Texas Department of Public Safety. Mr. Kessinger was extradited back to West Virginia by members of the West Virginia State Police and is currently being housed in Southern Regional jail. Mr. Kessinger is being arraigned today in Greenbrier County Circuit Court.”

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