By Katie Kuba
Upshur Bureau Chief
TURNER TOWN - This week's Federal Bureau of Investigation search of the West Fork River related to the murder of 29-year-old Joshua Oberg yielded "good results," West Virginia State Police officials said Wednesday.
Cpl. M.S. Clark with the Weston detachment of the WVSP said a four-member FBI dive team, assisted by state police officials, spent most of Monday and Tuesday combing an area of the West Fork River in the Turner Town area of Lewis County "just looking for some items of evidence" related to Oberg's Jan. 23, 2012, murder. The search concluded Tuesday.
When asked if the search was successful, Clark replied that it "had good results," but did not elaborate further.
Clark dispelled speculation that the FBI dive team had been searching for a corpse, however.
"No, we're not looking for a body," he told The Inter-Mountain. "That's been a lot of the calls and Facebook information over here in Weston, but no. They (the FBI dive team members) were just looking for some items of evidence that would further the investigation.
"They were nice enough to come in and help us out," he added, "and they are pretty amazing at what they do. The tools they use and the methodical way they searched that river It was pretty interesting."
West Virginia State Police investigators have testified they believe Rodolpho "Chino" Villagomez Correa, 33, of Buckhannon, paid Jessie Lee Heater, 30, also of Buckhannon, $5,000 to kill Oberg after Correa learned Oberg had become romantically involved with Correa's wife. Investigators have also stated that Heater gave Robert Eugene Siron III, 31, of Weston, $500 to keep his mouth shut in the days following Oberg's death.
At a hearing in December, Siron pleaded guilty to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body in the death of Oberg, whose body was discovered in a shallow grave along Bull Run Road in a remote area of Upshur County in July 2012.
As part of his plea, Siron told 26th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall that on the day of Oberg's death, he, Heater and Oberg went to an area known as Hog Hollow, where Heater allegedly shot Oberg, who began to plead for his life. Siron said Heater then stabbed Oberg.
Siron also told Hall that although he didn't kill Oberg, in an effort to avoid being caught, he aided Heater in loading Oberg - who may still have been alive at the time - into his truck before the two drove off. The two then headed to Lowe's to buy bleach and a shovel prior to burying Oberg's body, Siron said.
As part of his plea agreement with the state, Siron has agreed to cooperate in the investigation by providing statements regarding the involvement of Correa and Heater in Oberg's death.
He is also required to submit to an additional polygraph examination if requested by the prosecuting attorney's office concerning the disappearance of Luke Stout, according to the plea agreement's terms.
Stout was reported missing on July 18, and police have been told there is a connection between Stout's disappearance and Oberg's death.
Siron's plea agreement states that he must serve a 15-year determinate sentence in a state penitentiary on the voluntary manslaughter charge and a one- to five-year sentence in the state penitentiary on the conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body charge, according to previous reports. Although now classified as a state Division of Corrections offender, Siron remains incarcerated in the North Central Regional Jail.
Jury selection for Heater's trial will be Jan. 21, and his trial will begin Feb. 18. He is being held without bond in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Jury selection in Correa's case is set for April 14; he is being held without bond in the Central Regional Jail.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT-Kuba.