Man convicted of 1982 murder in Ritchie County; longtime West Virginia fugitive identified as dead man found in Ohio in 1988

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A Ritchie County man who has been wanted for several parole violations in West Virginia since 1989, has been identified a deceased man who was located in Ohio in 1988, according to the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS).

John Paul “Ike” Devaughn
Photo courtesy of U.S. Marshals Service

A press release that was issued by Marshals on Monday stated that John Paul “Ike” Devaughn was convicted of murder in Ritchie County in May 1983. Marshals said the conviction stemmed from an altercation where Devaughn shot and killed his brother-in-law Michael Webb in the chest with a shotgun in November 1982. Devaughn was arrested on November 19, 1982 and was convicted of second degree murder, according to Marshals.

Marshals said Devaughn was sentenced to 5-18 years in prison and was released on parole on October 2, 1987. Following his release, Devaughn absconded from supervision and has been considered a fugitive since October 1989, Marshals said.

The release stated that the U.S. Marshals Service Northern District of West Virginia became involved with the search for Devaughn more than nine years ago in January 2011.

Over the last 9 years, Deputy U.S. Marshals have worked tirelessly on locating Devaughn, according to the release. Marshals said numerous associate interviews, surveillance and other investigative techniques were utilized during the search of Devaughn. Ultimately, deputies believed Devaughn may be deceased and collected a voluntary DNA sample from a known living relative for comparison in 2015. Marshals said the sample was submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), an organization that provides technology, forensic services and investigative support to missing person cases.

John Paul “Ike” Devaughn
Photo courtesy of U.S. Marshals Service

The release stated that from 2015 through 2020, no unidentified missing persons matched Devaughn; however, on November 13, 2020, the USMS was notified by NamUs of a DNA match to an unidentified body that was located in Ohio in 1988. Marshals said the remains had been unidentified until a submission from investigators in Ohio matched the DNA sample submitted by the USMS. The match was 92.5 billion times more likely to be Devaughn than another person, according to NamUs.

The release detailed that the mostly skeletal remains were located on April 13, 1988 in a van parked at a junk yard in Portage County, Ohio. Marshals said the remains also had a leather bracelet with the inscription “John” printed on it. The unidentified remains had been buried at a cemetery in Mogadore, Ohio and Devaughn’s family was notified of the identification, according to the release.

“This case was a true team effort” said US Marshal J.C. Raffety. “The hard work of our deputies, combined with the continued efforts of Portage County, OH authorities, and the forensic technologies utilized by NamUs all were key in bringing closure to this case.”

The release stated that the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, West Virginia State Police, Ritchie County Sheriff’s Office, Fairmont Police Department and Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted with the case.

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