Two criminal complaints were filled in Gallia County charging Richard Hurt, Sr. with one count of tampering with evidence, a third degree felony, and one count of abuse of a corpse, a felony of the fifth degree.
The criminal complaints outline the grisly dismembering of Jessica Berry’s body. Berry had been reported missing until the discovery of her remains on July 30, 2016 at a residence off Oshel Road near Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
According to the criminal complaint on tampering with evidence, Hurt told authorities Berry overdosed on narcotics at a residence on White Road in Gallia County. Allegedly she fatally overdosed at the location. Instead of contacting authorities, Hurt allegedly told investigators that he used a saw to dismember Berry’s remains according to the complaint. He then supposedly placed her remains in garbage bags then placed the bags in his vehicle and kept them there for more than a day until he took the remains to Mason County, West Virginia where he buried them. According to the complaint, Hurt disposed of Berry’s clothing and the saw in the trash which were picked up by a local trash service.
The second complaint filed is on the charge of abuse of a corpse. According to the complaint, it also said he treated Berry’s corpse in a way “that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities.”
In addition to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation have been working with the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab and the Mason County Sheriff’s Office as this case crossed jurisdictions.
Hurt also faces a charge in Mason County, West Virginia of concealment of a deceased human body. He is currently in the Western Regional Jail and has not been extradited to face charges in the Ohio portion of the investigation yet.
According to the West Virginia complaint, Hurt allegedly took Berry’s remains to the back yard of a home at 94 Abbey Lane where he buried the remains in a shallow grave. According to reports, Hurt had worked for the homeowner recently. The homeowner is not involved according to police.
Berry was last seen by her family on the evening of July 18, 2016. When they could not locate her, she was reported as missing to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. Berry was 32 years old.
Another recent missing person’s case has come up, but according to the Gallia County Sheriff, Joe Browning, the two cases are not connected.
“We are dealing with two very separate cases with very separate circumstances,” Sheriff Browning said.
He said they are still seeking information into the disappearance of Tamela June Simpson, 34. She has been missing since March 14, 2016.
“Anyone with information concerning Tamela June Simpson should call our tip line,” Sheriff Browning said. The tip line number is (740)446-6555.