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Charles Severance charged in 3 Alexandria murders


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Seven months after the murder of Ruthanne Lodato, 10 months after the murder of Ron Kirby, and 11 years after the murder of Nancy Dunning, Alexandria police have finally charged a suspect.

Charles Severance, 53, of West Virginia, was charged for all three murders Monday. All three were shot just inside their front doors with a small caliber weapon, police said.

Nancy Dunning was the wife of then-Alexandria Sheriff Jim Dunning when she was shot to death in her home in 2003. Sheriff Dunning was investigated for his wife's death. He later moved to North Carolina where he died.


Mayor Bill Euille says the Dunnings were his friends and he feels badly that Jim Dunning went to his grave under what some perceived as a cloud of suspicion.

Dept. of Corrections official killed in Alexandria


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- A man has been charged in the murder of a 64-year-old woman in Alexandria on Sunday, police said.

Carolyn Cross was found dead in the 4800 block of Kenmore Avenue at around 8 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Police have charged 29-year-old Dawit Seyoum with first-degree murder. He apparently lives in the same apartment complex. A co-worker of Cross who lives in the same apartment building talked to us. She says she recognized Seyoum when she was shown his mug shot. She also said that Cross' daughter found her tied up and unresponsive.

Cross was the DC Department of Correction's Deputy Director.

There is no reason to believe the crime was connected to Cross's position and there is know indication that Cross knew Seyoum, Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

City of Alexandria dedicating cemetery memorial


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The City of Alexandria is dedicating a memorial honoring African Americans who died in the city during the Civil War.

The city says the "Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial" will be dedicated Saturday at the Freedmen's Cemetery, which was established by Union military officials in 1864. More than 1,700 freed and formerly enslaved African Americans were buried in the cemetery during and after the war.

Officials say several hundred people who are descendants of those buried at the cemetery have been located and many will attend the dedication ceremony.


Police investigate rape in VA


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) --

Police are investigating a rape that happened at a Virginia bar.

A 43-year-old woman was raped at a bar in Alexandria in the 100 block of S. Reynolds Street between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on August 31st, police said.

The woman did not know the man who raped her.

Alexandria police would like to speak with the person in the included photo. The pictured person was with the victim and could have information about the case.

Anyone with information about this incident or the person in the photo is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section at 703-746-6711.


73-year-old woman missing from Fairfax County


FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA9) -- Fairfax County Police are looking for 73-year-old Barbara Wiggs.

They say Wiggs was reported missing from the 8900 block of Linton Lane on Friday at 6 a.m.

Wiggs is described as a black female, about 5 feet 1 inches tall, weighing 95 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

She may appear disoriented and require assistance if found, say police.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Barbara Wiggs is asked to call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131, or call 9-1-1.


Alexandria to dedicate memorial to African Americans who died in Civil War


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- On Saturday, Alexandria will dedicate a memorial to 1,700 African Americans who died during the Civil War.

According to event officials, more than 500 descendants of those who died and others will gather at Church and S. Washington Streets in Alexandria at 10 a.m. Saturday to dedicate the Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery Memorial.

Officials said in a press release:

In the early years of the Civil War, slaves who had escaped into areas under Union control were called contrabands, after the term "contraband of war," which protected their refugee status and prevented them from being sent back into slavery. Many of those buried were refugees who fled from Maryland and areas in Virginia to Alexandria, seeking freedom behind the Union army lines.

Setting fires to bust crime


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- It's all about busting crooks and sending them off to prison. The ATF usually spends time solving arson, however this time around Federal agents were setting fires while prosecutors watched.

In a murder or a rape case, prosecutors often have a witness that they can call into court, but fires are usually set at night and there are often no witnesses at all. This may be the reason why arson is among the least prosecuted crimes in America. Even though it is also among the most costly.

The ATF says it doesn't have to be that way. Every fire leaves clues. When someone drips gasoline along the carpet, the heat from those flames usually leaves a pattern along the floor.