WAKE, Va. - The body of a Virginia mother who reportedly vanished from her front yard has been found and a suspect was taken into custody in connection with her death, authorities announced Thursday afternoon.
The Middlesex County Sheriff's Office confirmed the body of 23-year-old Terrilynn St. John was found in a small wooded area near her home in Wake, Virginia at about 9 a.m. on Thursday. Major Michael Sampson with the sheriff's office stated 23-year-old Alvin B. Keyser of Topping, Virginia was taken into custody in connection with St. John's death.
The sheriff's office said Keyser admitted to driving to St. John's home Tuesday morning in a van to confront her about statements that were made about him. Keyser allegedly told authorities St. John hit him and he hit her back, he pushed her out of the van and got out and strangled her until she stopped breathing.
Keyser admitted to loading her body into the van and then dumping it in the woods, the sheriff's office said. Authorities said Keyser was an acquaintance of St. John, but to what degree they knew each other was still being determined.
Sampson said investigators reached out to Keyser Wednesday evening and spoke with him. He called the sheriff's department Thursday morning and later led them to the body, according to officials. Authorities said Keyser has been cooperating with officials. He has been charged with first-degree murder along with conceal or alter of a dead body. Keyser's first court date was set for Monday and he was ordered to be held without bond.
St. John's body was being taken to the medical examiner's office in Richmond where an autopsy will be performed and an official cause of death will be released.
WTVR reported that family members last heard from the young mother of two Tuesday morning when she went to her car to get ready to take her kids to day care.
The sheriff's office said St. John's children, ages 1 and 3, were found alone and unharmed in the home by their grandfather. The grandfather went to check on St. John and her children after receiving a call that the mother had not shown up to work that day and he found the door to the home open, according to officials.
WTVR reported that St. John's car was still in the driveway, her cellphone was found in bushes outside her home and authorities found a broken necklace in the front yard.
The Southside Sentinel reported St. John's boyfriend, Mac Kennard, told the paper the last time he saw St. John was when he kissed her goodbye at 4:20 a.m. that morning before he headed to work.
Officials urged anyone with information that can aid detectives in their investigation, especially anyone who witnessed something suspicious in the area between 4:30 and 6 a.m., to call the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office at (804) 758-2779.