“Andy is in my room. I’m scared.”
That was the last text of fifteen year old Riley Crossman to her boyfriend in the early morning hours of May 8, the day she was killed.
And it was the culmination of a more than two hour presentation by Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Dan James to Magistrate Richard Stephens in the Morgan County Courthouse in Berkeley Springs.
The prosecution’s only witness was West Virginia State Police trooper Fred Edwards, who led the state’s investigation.
For the most part, James and Edwards put the evidence laid out in the criminal complaint in pictures, video and audio. The defendant, Andrew Jackson McCauley, in an orange jumpsuit and in handcuffs and leg irons, eyes blinking rapidly, sat impassively throughout the hearing.
At the end of the hearing, Magistrate Stephens ruled there was probable cause to send the case to a grand jury.
More than 35 friends and family of Riley Crossman were in the courtroom.
Riley Crossman’s mother, Chantel Oakley, stayed until halfway through the hearing, when the prosecution put up on a screen blocked out pictures of Riley’s body on the side of the mountain where it was found. Oakley then broke down and left the room and did not return.
The evidence against McCauley was damning, with surveillance video documenting the route he allegedly traversed to pick up Riley’s body at her home on the morning of May 8 — then travelling Shanghai Road over the mountain to dump the body off a cliff near 5500 Tuscarora Pike.
All of that was pretty much laid out weeks ago in the criminal murder complaint against McCauley but there were new striking details revealed throughout the hearing. (Leaving the courtroom, McCauley’s lawyer Andy Arnold was asked — did you have this evidence beforehand? “No,” Arnold said. “I only had the criminal complaint.”)
Corporal Edwards said that the bed of the truck that McCauley used to transport the body was covered with drywall mud.
“What is an active ingredient of drywall mud,” James asked.
“Lime,” Edwards said.
“Do you know if lime helps speed up decomposition?” James asked.
“Yes,” Edwards said.
James said that May 15 was the day of a breakthrough in the search for Riley.
Cadaver dogs picked up the scent of a decomposed body on McCauley’s seized truck.
Before asking Edwards about that day, for a moment James became emotional. He composed himself and continued his questioning.
“It was an act of God that Riley’s body was found?” James asked.
“Yes it was,” Edwards said.
What was new and beyond the criminal complaint was the fact that Andy McCauley tried to call Riley Crossman — using *67 to block his number — at 3:00 am, 3:34 am and 3:52 am — on May 8, the morning of the day she was killed.
And what was also new was the last text message from Riley Crossman to her boyfriend — “Andy’s in my room. I’m scared.”