Former Investigators React to New Developments in Lewis County M - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Former Investigators React to New Developments in Lewis County Murder Investigation

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It's been almost 14 years since Maxine Stalnaker and Mary Friend went missing in Lewis County. The first lead in the investigation came with the discovery of their car in Harrison County. But investigators still couldn't put a solid case together as to who was responsible for their deaths. Despite many leads that would turn up over the next few years, law enforcement in both counties kept up the work.

"Sometimes it is frustrating, but sometimes it's important to the investigation just as well. It's just as important in some cases to dispel a lead or rumor as it is to find the facts, and a lot of times we do, we go down dead end roads, but that's one thing we can take off the plate," said Robert Matheny, who was in the Clarksburg Police Department when the car was found.

Now, 13 years and change later, Robert Matheny is the Stonewood Police Chief. And even though he doesn't have a hand in the investigation any more, he said it's a case that neither he, nor anyone involved, has ever forgotten.

"I know that anytime I stop down in Lewis County, whether it be a meeting or just to stop by, they're always looking at some type of evidence or going back through reports, so I don't think it was ever set on the back burner," said Matheny.

And with the arrests of Joseph Metz, David Hughes, and Steve Freeman, investigators in both Harrison and Lewis Counties are finally seeing their hard work pay off. Richard Bennett is a former Lewis County sheriff's deputy who was involved in the case. He said it was a question of when, not if, they'd find the people responsible for the women's disappearance.

"We've been putting hundreds and hundreds of hours into this case. It was just a matter of, we knew what was going on, but we couldn't prove it. It was a matter of time that we had put into this case," Bennett said.