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Montgomery County investigators: Suspect said he strangled woman in homicide case

CHRISTIANSBURG — A former boyfriend admitted killing a Montgomery County woman whose body was found last week in the woods, investigators said in search warrants filed in the case.

James Hunter Stallard, 38, is charged with second-degree murder and concealing a body. He is scheduled to appear in Montgomery County General District Court on Aug. 2 for a preliminary hearing.

Stallard is being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail. His attorney, Brad McConnell of Blacksburg, said Monday that he had just begun to review the case and had no immediate comment.

Stallard's arrest June 6 followed Crystal Dawn Raines Hannah, 44, being reported missing a day earlier. A sheriff's office investigation found her body in a wooded area near the 2600 block of North Fork Road, located in the county east of Blacksburg.

Search warrants said that the discovery came after a sheriff's office investigator talked to Stallard. He said that on June 5, Hannah was at his residence, basically across North Fork Road and up a hill from the wooded area, search warrants said.

Stallard said that he and Hannah argued, that the argument became physical, and that he struck her and then "strangled her until she was dead," search warrants said.

Stallard told officers that he put Hannah's body in her gray Dodge van, drove it a short distance to the intersection of North Fork Road and Seneca Hollow Road, then opened a gate and drove into a wooded area owned by Norfolk Southern, search warrants said. Stallard left the van there and carried Hannah's body to where he left it on the ground, covered with leaves, search warrants said.

An officer found Hannah's van and body where Stallard said they were, search warrants said.

Investigators took a pair of shorts, a purse, a cellphone and keys from Stallard's house, according to lists in the search warrants. They took red stain samples and two shoes from Hannah's van.

From the woods, they took human remains and flowers, search warrants said.



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