Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department explains how they handle missing person cases


PINEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Three people remain missing in Wyoming County, including Virgil “Punky” Paynter who has been missing for over a month. Paynter was last seen in the Hanover area on August 19, 2019. He is one of the three people currently missing in Wyoming County.

Chief Deputy Bradley Ellison said once they receive the missing person report, they enter the information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is a program that will show if the person was found anywhere in the United States. After that, Ellison said they begin their investigation.

“We just start back tracking, trying to find out who was the last people to see them,” Ellison said. “What were their daily activities, who do they hang out with, and we just start at that point trying to figure out what their lifestyle was. Was it something criminal that might of happened to them or was it something natural?”

Deputies will also reach out to the public for help during their investigation, often using social media as a tool in hopes that people will call in with tips. Ellison also encouraged everyone to keep in touch with their families.

“If your’re out and traveling, let your family know when you leave and when you arrive so they will have a time span so that if you’re not there when you should be there, they can start calling you or calling the place where you are suppose to be,” Ellison said.

Ellison reminded everyone: if you see something say something.

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