UPDATE: Search for man in Upper Big Branch Mine Stopped


According to officials with Alpha Natural Resources, the search for David Lee Adkins has stopped.

Here is an official statement from Alpha:

“Over the course of two days, and in concert with state and federal regulatory authorities, an exhaustive underground search was conducted of every accessible area from multiple entry points into the mine.  The alleged trespasser was not found.  After discussion with authorities, agreement has been reached to conclude the underground search. Security personnel will be posted at mine access points over the coming days as an added safety precaution.  We will continue cooperating with law enforcement’s ongoing investigation.”


On June 7, 2016, David Lee Adkins was reported missing by his wife to the Whitesville Police Department. According to a press release from the West Virginia State Police Ms. Adkins said he and at least 3 other men had been stealing copper from within the Upper Big Branch Mine. 

Ms. Adkins said her husband was last seen inside the mine on June 7, 2016 at 2:30 a.m. On June 8, 2016, one of the other suspects William Bennett was found and arrested by West Virginia State Police for breaking and entering the UBB Mine.

Bennett said he had been with David Adkins inside of the mine on June 7, 2016 and last saw him at 2:30 a.m. before they got separated. Right now, Mr. Adkins whereabouts are unknown and it is not known if he ever left the mine.

WVSP is working with Alpha Natural Resources to have a mine rescue team to search the abandon mine shafts. Adkins has been entered into NCIC as a missing person. 

Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of  Adkins is asked to contact the Whitesville State Police Department.

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