Body Found Near I-81

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

Very late Wednesday afternoon, State Police returned to the Interstate where they found an abandoned van Sunday. They went searching for 81-year-old Robert Haney, They think they may have found him, though it's not the outcome anyone was hoping for.

The body of an elderly man was found, disrobed, inside Staunton city limits - close to where the van was picked up.

It all began Sunday. State troopers say they found an abandoned van along this stretch of interstate. That was not that unusual.

"We found a car, southbound 81 at the 224.5 milemarker. It was a maroon van from New York," said Trooper Scott Parsons of the Virginia State Police.

But twelve hours later, it was still there. A look inside revealed furniture, a leashed dog, and two guns. Police had the van towed. But the van's owner was still missing. Family in New York state had notified police.

When the van was towed, both front doors were locked, but there were keys in the ignition. And the side door was open. Police thought it odd that the keys were there. And so was the dog.

"The family said that he doesn't go anywhere without the dog. The dog was found with a leash on him," said Parsons.

Family members sent police photos of 81-year-old Robert Haney of Waverly, New York. Police sent out alerts to local police departments, but came up cold.

Parsons noted, "We're not really sure what's going on right now. It's just a missing person. We're trying to locate him. We've checked all the local hotels, hospitals, any place where he might have stayed overnight. We've been unable to locate him."

So police went back to the interstate Wednesday afternoon, searching with dogs. And they may have found what they were looking for. The man found late Wednesday did not have an ID on him. The body was disrobed. Staunton City Police have now taken over the investigation. It's still unclear whether any foul play was involved.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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