UPDATE: State Police investigating after body was found in a ditch

body found

UPDATE: (Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at 8 am) BLAND COUNTY, VA (WOAY) – At approximately 12:25 p.m. Saturday, May 23, the Virginia State Police were notified of a body discovered in a ditch along Wilderness Road.

Bruce M. Ritchie, 57, of Herminie, Penn. was found stabbed to death outside his vehicle, a white 2019 Nissan Sentra. Both were located in a wide, pull-off area on the right shoulder of Wilderness Road, approximately 100 yards from the exit for I-77.

Wilderness Road is Route 606 and is Exit 62 off Interstate 77 in the South Gap community of Bland County.

State police have determined that Ritchie had been traveling north on I-77 when he apparently pulled off the exit and parked his vehicle. A knife was recovered at the scene.

As the Virginia State Police continues to pursue several leads, investigators are encouraging anyone with information to call the Virginia State Police Wytheville Division at 276-228-3131 or contact us by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

State police are especially interested in hearing from anyone who may recall seeing the white Nissan, other vehicles and/or individuals at the pull-off on Wilderness Road Friday evening, May 22, through noon Saturday, May 23.


BLAND COUNTY, VA (WOAY) – The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Wytheville Field Office is conducting an unattended death investigation in Bland County.

State police were notified at 12:25 p.m. Saturday (May 23) a body was discovered in a ditch along Wilderness Road, east of I-77. State police are still processing the scene and working to determine the nature and circumstances related to the death of the male.

The body will be transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for autopsy, examination, and positive identification.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police Wytheville Division at 276-228-3131 or contact us by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com