WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Severance Now Considered 'Primary Focus' Of Alexandria Murder Investigation

Play associated audio
Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook calls Charles Severance the "primary focus" of an ongoing triple-murder investigation.
WV Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority
Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook calls Charles Severance the "primary focus" of an ongoing triple-murder investigation.

Police officials in Alexandria are narrowing the focus of their investigation into three unsolved murders.

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook doesn't want to call Charles Severance a "suspect" in the murders, and he's uncomfortable with calling him a "person of interest." But now that prosecutors in Loudoun County are moving forward with a firearms charge, the chief has a new way to describe Severance's relationship to the ongoing investigation. Cook calls Severance the "primary focus."

"We started with Mr. Severance as a tip like we got from other people, and before we had the opportunity to attempt to talk to him he was leaving town," Cook says.

Some of those details emerged this week, when Severance's former girlfriend testified that an Alexandria detective left a business card on the windshield of her car. When she confronted Severance about it, he left town—and two revolvers went missing from her house. Now the Alexandria Police Chief says Severance has become the center of their investigation into three murders: Nancy Dunning in 2003, Ron Kirby in 2013 and Ruthanne Lodato earlier this year.

"We do not normally talk about people we are looking at in an investigation," Cook says. "It was only the unique circumstances around him that we are discussing him."

Cook declined to elaborate on what those circumstances are, and his department has yet to file any charges against Severance. But the chief says he wants to close the case as soon as possible.

WAMU 88.5

Exhibit Shows Dolores Huerta's Life As Part Of The 'Backbone' Of America

The exhibit about the United Farm Workers activist is the first in the National Portrait Gallery's "One Life" series to be devoted to a Latina.


Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.


Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.