Tragic Double Homicide in Pocahontas County Shocks the Community

At 3 p.m. on Friday, November 27th, West Virginia State Troopers from the Marlinton Detachment were called to a normally routine call for service at an address on Crow Hill Lane.  What they found was anything but routine. WV State Police Sergeant Fred H. Barlow of the Marlinton Detachment tells what happened next.

“We’d received a call Friday to do a welfare check on the McDaniels (family) which we do year round, checking on folks who haven’t made contact with family or friends” said Sergeant Barlow. “When we arrived on scene we located Mr. and Mrs. McDaniels dead at the scene.  We developed leads of a possible suspect which ultimately was Aaron Bussard, Mr. and Mrs. McDaniels’ grandson.”

Trooper Brock accompanied by a Pocahontas County Deputy sheriff responded to that address on Crow Hill Lane and found that the McDaniels had been fatally shot and that the McDaniels’ vehicle, a Honda Pilot was missing.  Based on further investigation the State Troopers were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Bussard – although initially it was just for the theft of the McDaniels’ vehicle.  Sergeant Barlow describes the efforts of the many law enforcement agencies to locate Bussard.

“We initiated an extensive manhunt with officers from the West Virginia State Police, the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and also the Pocahontas County 911 staff and the OEM (Office of Emergency Services) staff (who) were really instrumental in helping coordinate and providing resources and making phone calls and taking phone calls” said Sgt. Barlow. “With the help of that and by putting out messages, the subject (Bussard) was located in Alleghany County, Virginia on Saturday in the early morning hours. Myself and Trooper Wade and Trooper Brock, at the request of my Captain – Captain Reider – responded to Virginia and were on scene when they apprehended Mr. Bussard. We obtained statements from Mr. Bussard as to the events of this investigation.  The investigation is on-going, further charges are pending.”

According to the Alleghany County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department, Bussard, who was driving the McDaniels’ Honda, was stopped on a traffic stop after his location at a service station outside of Covington, Virginia was called into the Sheriff’s Office. Bussard drove off, initiating a chase. He crashed his vehicle and a lengthy standoff ensued. Bussard was finally subdued by a Sheriff’s Tazer. He had three firearms with him when he was arrested. He has been returned to Pocahontas County and is being charged with two counts of first degree murder as well as grand larceny of the vehicle.

We are all thankful for the quick and efficient response of Law Enforcement to affect a quick arrest in this case. Unfortunately nothing can make right the tragic loss of the McDaniels. There has been sorrow and shock throughout the citizens of the County. Many residents are saying something like “I’ve heard of these things happening elsewhere, but never thought it could happen here.”

The interview with Sergeant Barlow was hard on him, and hard on me, as a retired Police Officer.  Sergeant Barlow knew the McDaniels and worked with Tim McDaniels when McDaniels was a West Virginia State Trooper. McDaniels served as a Trooper from 1978 until being forced to medically retire in 1991 after being shot and wounded while handling a Domestic situation. He received a purple heart from the State Police for that injury.

It is hard to listen to Sergeant Barlow talk emotionally about his friend Tim McDaniels and Tim’s wife, Shawn Marie McDaniels, but it’s important to remember that Troopers, Deputies and other law enforcement officers are humans with feelings and members of our community too.  Sgt. Barlow.

“I’ve known Tim (McDaniels) for years” Said Sgt Barlow. “He was a Trooper when I was a young teenager here running around town and there’s been more than one time when his blue lights were in my rear view mirror.  And then I had the opportunity to work professionally with him. When he was shot on a domestic call he had to retire from the State Police due to his injuries, but he continued working when he went to work for the Sheriff’s Department  as a 911 Dispatcher/Jailer. And I knew Tim well and I did a lot of things with Tim and it’s a hard loss to have at this time. Tim and Shawn McDaniels, they were good people; they would give you the shirts off their back. They didn’t bother you, they didn’t put their nose in your business.  But, you know, it’s a reminder to all of us to check on our family, to check on our neighbors, and to make sure things are going on well when you haven’t heard from your family or friends.”

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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