Va. deputy finds dead body during traffic stop

By Shawna Morrison
Roanoke Times

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. — The body of a woman was found in the back of a van stopped for speeding in Wythe County on Thursday morning, Sheriff Doug King said, and her death has been classified as a homicide.

The woman appeared to have been shot multiple times, King said. He said the victim was an adult female, but he declined to release her name until her family has been notified.

"We believe she was killed this morning," King said Thursday afternoon.

Police believe the woman was killed in Taylorsville, N.C., where the van's driver, Lisa Church Damron, is from.

Taylorsville police are expected to file charges in connection with the killing, King said.

Taylorsville Police Chief Tony Jones was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.

Wythe County Deputy Chris Coleman was on patrol on northbound Interstate 77 Thursday morning when he clocked the Ford Aerostar travelling 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, King said.

About 8:30 a.m., he pulled the van over near mile marker 30, two miles from the intersection of I-77 and Interstate 81.

The deputy determined that Damron and her husband, Jerry Wayne Damron, were under the influence of alcohol, King said. He charged Lisa Damron with driving under the influence and Jerry Damron with appearing drunk in public.

Because both of the van's occupants were under arrest, King said, the deputy was going to have the vehicle towed.

"As the deputy was taking an inventory of the van prior to having it towed," King said, "he discovered a dead body in the trunk."

The woman's body was wrapped in a blanket, King said. King said the Damrons were present when the discovery was made, but that he couldn't disclose what, if anything, they said.

The search also revealed that Jerry Damron had three pistols, King said.

"It's unknown at this time if any of the handguns were used in the homicide," he said.

The woman's body was taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy, he said.

The Damrons both were charged with transporting a dead body with the malicious intent to prevent detection of an unlawful act, a felony, King said.

He said it appeared that the Damrons were passing through Wythe County but it is unclear where they were headed.

Lisa Damron was also charged with reckless driving. Jerry Damron was charged with three counts of carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Jerry Damron was also charged with the felony assault and battery of a police officer for assaulting an officer as he was placed in lockup, King said. He said the officer was not injured.

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