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Fayette County man strangled girlfriend, police say

By Staff reports

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. -- A 63-year-old Fayette County man strangled his 24-year-old girlfriend and hid her body, State Police said Wednesday.

William Frederick Cody, of Fayetteville, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Santanea Byers, of Oak Hill.

Byers' mother reported her missing at State Police detachment in Oak Hill on Monday. She said Byers was last seen June 17 with Cody, her on again/off again boyfriend, according to a criminal complaint filed in Fayette County Magistrate Court.

Trooper J.L. Milam called Cody, who denied involvement in Byers' disappearance and agreed to come into the detachment for questioning, police said.

During questioning Wednesday, Cody told troopers he had strangled Byers and disposed of her body, according to the complaint.

Cody said he and Byers drove to the New River in Thurmond June 17 and got into an altercation. Cody allegedly loaded Byers' body into the back of his pickup truck, then drove the body to a camp he leases in Monroe County and hid it, according to the complaint.

Cody said after troopers called him Monday, he drove back to get the body and hid it in an outbuilding in Hilltop, according to the complaint. Troopers found Byers' body there, wrapped in a yellow canvas tarp, Wednesday. She had injuries consistent with strangulation, according to the complaint.

Cody was being held in Southern Regional Jail without bail.


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