Sheriff: Carnival worker from Virginia shot, killed 3 women

Regional Jail Authority

Regional Jail Authority

Proctor told The Associated Press that he's had one short meeting with Wright but can not discuss the conversation. According to Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner, Hopson was last seen with Wright when he picked her up in the city and she willingly left with him.

Authorities in Virginia wanted to ask James Michael Wright about a missing 25-year-old woman from Tennessee. "We find that hard to believe, based on information we have". During the interview, Wright confessed to killing three women, the release stated.

It's unclear how Hopson might have met Wright through the James H. Drew Exposition, the carnival traveling up and down the East Coast where Newman said Wright worked as a subcontractor. Wright told investigators he fatally shot 22-year-old Vanmeter during a fight. Based on Wright's statements, they were tentatively identified as Vanmeter and Aslup.

On the night of March 17, Chapman remembered, Wright arrived to pick her up for the job - but he never brought her back. He claimed he got into the accident just after dropping her off at Chapman's apartment in Johnson City, Tenn., about 40 miles south of Mendota. The girl, who was the daughter of Wright's co-worker, had been reported missing a day earlier.

Authorities then obtained and carried out a search warrant for Wright's home on May 9, police said.

That's when police looking for two other women in Tennessee and Georgia realized a common denominator in all three cases: The women all somehow knew Wright through the carnival, Newman said.

Investigators found two bodies near Wright's property that are believed to be Vanmeter and Alsup, one in a shallow grave and the other near some logs. "Basically, this individual killed three women within about an 18-day period". All three had been reported missing in March.

A report from the Carter County Sheriff's Office shows that a caretaker for Vanmeter said she was cognitively disabled and had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old.

Wright does not appear to have a criminal background. Alsup was reported missing on March 8. She was killed on or about February 28, and Wright said her death was the result of an argument, according to the sheriff's office.

Hopson was killed on March 17 while the two were taking a walk near his home. And he told investigators that he shot Hopson after he tripped and fell.

According to Newman, Wright told cops he shot Hopson on March 17 and was transporting her body when it fell out of his truck and rolled down a hill and into a river, where it was later found.

"We will pray for the families of the victims and continue to work with law enforcement", the company said.

Newman said he has no reason to believe Wright meant to harm himself by crashing into the bus two days after allegedly killing Hopson.

Authroties would not discuss a motive for the killings.

The victims were all connected to the James H. Drew carnival.

Newman said investigators are working with the company to determine other carnival locations and will work to determine whether those jurisdictions have reported missing persons. Wright then claimed he dumped her body in a local river, Newman said.

Washington County Commonwealth Attorney Joshua Cumbow said the death penalty is "on the table".

Wright remains behind bars in Virginia without bond.

This article was written by Meagan Flynn, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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