RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Three people are alive and safe after being trapped underground for about four days, but WHSV's sister station, WSAZ, has obtained dozens of court records that show at least one of those people probably should have known better. His father is in prison for committing the same crime in multiple counties.
There is no denying the relief and happiness loved ones are feeling after the safe return of three people who were trapped in an abandoned mine in Raleigh County. On the other hand, the reality of life is that the trio could face criminal charges now. Entering an abandoned mine is illegal in West Virginia.
Erica Treadway, 31; Kayla Williams, in her 20s; and Cody Beverly, 21, were rescued from the Rock House Powellton Mine near Clear Creek late Wednesday night. They were trapped inside of a mine that stretches across both Boone and Raleigh counties.
Investigators found out about the dire situation when a fourth person, Eddie Williams, 43, safely came out of the mine on his own Monday night. He told officials that the others had been lost since Sunday.
Family members told reporters that the group went into the mine to steal copper.
A source confirmed to WSAZ that Cody Beverly's father is Brandon Beverly — an inmate currently in prison for breaking into mines in at least four different counties.
Brandon is in the Parkersburg Correctional Center and Jail facing charges out of Raleigh, Boone, Mingo, Logan, and McDowell counties.
A grand jury in McDowell County indicted Brandon for an incident that happened in February 2013. The charges were breaking and entering, grand larceny, and conspiracy.
• Brandon broke into a mine owned by Mechel Bluestone Inc. and stole a long list of property totaling more than $1,000. He was indicted on Oct. 21, 2014, but was not sentenced until December 2015. After Brandon pleaded guilty, a judge sentenced him to prison with credit for the 403 days he served during his trial. The judge also ordered the sentence to run concurrently with "the sentences Defendant is currently serving."
• On Oct. 18, 2013, Brandon and others stole $121,435 worth of mining property from the Delbarton Prep Plant in Mingo County. The site was owned by Alpha Natural Resources. He pleaded guilty to grand larceny in October 2015. Brandon was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison with credit for the 100 days he spent at Southwestern Regional Jail. However, Brandon got out of jail at some point because over the two years it took for that case to play out, he continued to target mines and other properties.
• Brandon is accused of breaking into the closed-off Barkers Junk Company Inc. in Raleigh County on Nov. 21, 2013. Court documents allege that Brandon tried to steal two bales of aluminum worth about $1,000, as well as a utility trailer valued at $750. The indictment says Brandon "failed or was prevented from completing the said act." Investigators say he also damaged the gate and lock, totaling about $500 in destruction.
• A grand jury indicted him on Sept. 10, 2014, on charges of breaking and entering, attempt to commit a felony, grand larceny, and destruction of property. On Dec. 8, 2015, he pleaded guilty to attempt to commit a felony and grand larceny. According to court documents, he was sentenced to one to three years in prison. However, in this case, Brandon was given credit for 493 days served at the Southern Regional Jail and the judge ordered the sentence to run consecutively with Brandon's Boone County charges.
In Boone County alone, court documents show that Brandon broke into three mines — all within a matter of months:
• The first incident in Boone County was on March 19, 2014. Court documents say Brandon was charged with grand larceny, breaking and entering, and conspiracy after trying to steal approximately $20,000 worth of property from a mine in the Williams Mountain are of Boone County. Security video showed the suspects breaking into the Alpha Natural Resources site. Investigators said Brandon, and co-defendants, wore masks and cut through a locked gate to get inside. The stolen items included circuit breakers, copper electrical wire, catheads, and pumps. The stolen property was found near the gate. It's unclear, from reading the criminal complaint, why the items were left behind and how the group was caught.
• According to an indictment, Brandon and others broke into an Alpha Natural Resources mine in Boone County in July of 2014. They stole about $1,260 worth of miner bits. There were 168 bits, valued at $7.50 each. He was charged with grand larceny and conspiracy.
• On Aug. 1, 2014, Brandon and another person stole about $18,600 worth of copper cable from White Wine Mining in the Twin Poplars are of Boone County. A security officer saw the truck leave and gave investigators a description of the suspect. Deputies with the Boone County Sheriff's Office found the truck in the Song Creek area. It was full of copper cable. The other suspect was still in the passenger seat and admitted the cable was from the mine.
• According to court documents, Brandon broke into a mine in Logan County on July 8, 2014. It was the Cliff's Natural Resources mine near the Lorado community. A worker watched Brandon and another man enter the mine and steal 48 buckets of mining bits worth about $7,000. Witnesses followed the suspects after they left with the stolen items inside a rental vehicle. Officers caught Brandon because the witnesses took down the license plate and the rental was in his name. The suspect was charged with grand larceny and conspiracy, but made bail. In May of 2015, Brandon was indicted on a grand larceny charge. On Sept. 21, 2015, he was given a plea deal and convicted of attempted grand larceny.
• According to the prison's website, Brandon was booked on Dec. 28, 2016. His next parole hearing is April 1, 2019 and his projected release date is April 3, 2022.
As for the incident this week, about 100 people burst into tears and applause Wednesday when Treadway, Williams, and Beverly were reunited with family and friends at the Salamie Memorial Center in Whitesville.
The rescue teams had to go thousands of feet underground and a couple of miles into the mine before they were able to reach these three people. Many of the rescuers worked on 19 percent oxygen. It was a serious safety risk for the crews.
Again, the people who were rescued are not yet facing any criminal charges, but investigators have said it is very possible they will.