Man arrested in fraud case connected to investigation of his missing wife

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — A man has been arrested in a fraud case connected to the investigation in the disappearance of his missing wife.

Owen Woods was arrested Friday. His wife, Starina Woods of Charleston, was last seen in March 2016. Police have previously indicated in search warrants that the case is a homicide investigation.

Woods has not been charged with his wife’s murder, although police have called him a suspect in her murder. Her body has never been found. The fraud charge comes from use on her debit card after her disappearance.

In an interview with reporters, Woods adamantly denied having anything to do with his wife’s disappearance.

According to numerous search warrants, detectives “found foul play present” at the residence. All of the search warrants had Woods’ husband in common. Police previously seized cell phone records, computers, searched his home and even taken DNA from him.

Detectives said blood spatter was discovered at the couple’s home on Lance Drive in Charleston and that several areas of the home showed signs that someone tried to clean up blood.

Court records indicate Woods has repeatedly told police he didn’t know where his wife was and believed she ran off to Ecuador with another man after stealing $29,000 from him. Police say Woods has told them the couple had a “heated”argument on March 10th and she disappeared after the argument.

Police said Woods told a neighbor that his wife and moved to Oklahoma.

A criminal complaint said Woods was questioned in a formal interview on June 9, 2016, by Charleston police detectives in regards to the disappearance of his wife. The victim was last seen or known to be alive about March 10 or March 11, 2016, in Charleston.

Police said Starina Woods had a checking account and debit/credit card issued to her. In the formal interview, Owen Woods said he had not seen or used his wife’s card and suspected she had taken it with her when she left him on March 10, 2016.

Through investigation and a series of search warrants for banking records, detectives said, it was discovered that Starina Woods’ debit card had been used by Owen Woods multiple times on or after March 10, 2016. Owen Woods also was captured on ATM surveillance video using his wife’s debit card, the complaint said.

Owen Woods continued to use the victim’s debit/credit card until the account obtained a several hundred dollar negative balance and the bank froze the account in May 2016, the complaint said.

During his court appearance on Friday, Woods told a magistrate he is a member of the U.S. Air Force and is on active duty. He was in his uniform. Bond was set at $50,000 cash. He is charged with fraud and related activity in connection with access devices.

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