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Co-worker murder investigation continues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police are "exploring the possibility" that Charles Eugene March, who allegedly killed his co-worker two years ago, could be connected to other disappearances or unsolved homicides.

Meanwhile, police are investigating after someone broke into his alleged victim's house sometime this week.

March, 60, is accused of strangling Sheila "Kathy" Goble, 62, on April 24, 2010. The two worked together for more than 10 years at Kelley's Mens Shop on the West Side.

Police said March's son called authorities on April 25 -- one day after the two-year anniversary of Goble's disappearance -- after finding what appeared to be human remains in a shallow grave at his father's home.

On Wednesday, the state medical examiner's office confirmed that the remains found in March's yard were Goble's, and that she was strangled.

During questioning, March told Kanawha County sheriff's deputies he dismembered Goble's body and buried it behind his trailer the next day, according to a criminal complaint in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said investigators are "exploring the possibility" March could be connected to similar crimes.

"He is innocent until proven guilty. However, generally when a criminal defendant commits this type of crime, it's rarely the first time," Plants said. "These types of crimes are done -- if they have gotten away with it -- over and over again."

Plants said he would not confirm any open investigation into similar crimes, just that police are researching.

Kanawha County Sheriff's Lt. Sean Crosier said he's not aware of any missing person cases or unsolved homicides with connections to March.

"I don't believe [detectives] have reason to say he had done anything else," Crosier said. "I will say, with something he's alleged to have done at his age, it's not totally out of the realm for that to be his only time."

March's co-workers called him friendly and soft-spoken, and have said he showed no signs of guilt during the two years police searched for Goble. He told no one of the alleged crime, police said.

Hillcrest Drive break-in

Also, police are searching for people who entered Goble's vacant house on Hillcrest Drive earlier this week, said Charleston Police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton.

Eggleton said Charleston officers answered the call, but Kanawha County Sheriff's Detective B.K. Carper is investigating.

Crosier said he does not believe the break-in, which happened Monday or Tuesday, is connected to the homicide investigation.

Goble's sons maintained the house, said family friend Billy Herrald. He did not know if any items were stolen from the house.

"They [her sons] haven't really sorted through the inventory yet," Herrald said.

The break-in is another blow to an already grieving family, he said.

"It's just one more thing to deal with on top of everything else. It's just one more hassle, one more frustration," Herrald said.

Goble's sons are taking their mother's loss hard, he said. For two years they had hoped she would return.

March waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday before Kanawha County Magistrate Court Judge Joe Shelton on the murder charge. His case will soon be presented before a grand jury.

"We hope that's a sign of future cooperation or pleas on his part. It's a kind of relief," Herrald said.

March is being represented by Richard Holicker, a Kanawha County assistant public defender. He remains in South Central Regional Jail without bail.

Son suspected father

A search warrant filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court revealed that March's son suspected his father might have killed Goble.

David March was digging in his father's yard the morning of April 25 when he found the skeletal remains wrapped in a bag.

He first tried to call Chesapeake city officials, but then called State Police. Trooper R.R. Cevera of the Quincy detachment was the first to make the connection between March and Goble and told sheriff's deputies that the body might be hers.

David March told detectives he had worked with his father in his yard a few weeks before Goble's body was found. At one point, he went to the corner of the trailer, near some blocks where the remains were still buried.

Charles March "overreacted and started yelling at him and told him that he did not belong in that area of the yard," according to the search warrant.

A few days later, Charles March had the same reaction when his son near the spot.

David March said his father had been paranoid about his property over the past couple of years -- and anytime Goble was mentioned, he would overreact.

According to the warrant, David March found it highly unusual his father missed work the day of Goble's disappearance.

David March said he went back to his father's home on April 25 and noticed the blocks had been moved.

"At that point his curiosity got a hold of him and that is when he started digging in the area where the blocks were previously stacked," detectives wrote in the affidavit. He found Goble's body there.

The search warrant said March used neckties to strangle Goble. He then wrapped the body in a blanket and placed it in the bathtub. The next day he dismembered it with a saw.

State Police and Kanawha sheriff's deputies recovered, blood evidence, VHS tapes, men's neckties, a wood-handled saw and a blanket at the scene. Police also recovered a shower curtain that had been wrapped around the remains since Goble's body was dismembered, according to the search warrant.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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