BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman who was rescued along with two other people from an inactive coal mine last year has pleaded guilty to destruction of property and conspiracy.
Erica Treadway entered the plea deal Monday, news outlets reported. She faces up to eight years in prison at sentencing set for March.
A criminal complaint said Treadway, along with Eddie Williams, Cody Beverly, and Kayla Williams, entered the Rock House Powellton Mine in Raleigh County to steal copper wire in December 2018. Eddie Williams left the mine on his own but the others had to be extricated by emergency crews after a search and rescue mission that lasted several days.
Two of the four died earlier this month, news reports said. Eddie Williams was diagnosed with cancer and died Dec. 4, days after Beverly passed away from organ failure, according to the reports.
Kayla Williams was charged with conspiracy, entering without breaking and destruction of property. It's unclear when she will be scheduled to appear in court.
Dec. 21, 2018
A sheriff's office in West Virginia has obtained arrest warrants for four people who entered a coal mine, resulting in three of them being trapped.
The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that it was seeking to arrest Eddie Williams Jr. on charges of entering without breaking, providing false information to police and felony conspiracy, news outlets report. The office said Friday it had arrest warrants for Williams' cousin, Kayla Williams, along with Erica Treadway and Cody Beverly.
Authorities said the four entered an inactive Clear Creek coal mine this month. Eddie Williams left the mine two days later. Authorities later rescued the other three.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Raleigh County Magistrate Court, the four entered the Rock House Powellton Mine to steal copper wire. Eddie Williams implicated the three others during an interview with a sheriff's detective.
Raleigh Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said Thursday that authorities are still investigating the others.
"Each of the four are being dealt with, in turn," Keller said.
Raleigh Sheriff's Detective Cory Suman wrote in the criminal complaint that the four went into the mine early on Dec. 8 and were reported missing the next day. Suman said deputies followed family to the entrance of the mine, where they found evidence of "mining wire," a term for stealing copper wiring.
The complaint says Eddie Williams initially told authorities the others went in without him and he went in search of them when they didn't come out the next day, but later said the four entered the mine to look for "copper to steal." He said he left the mine alone Dec. 10, got a ride to Whitesville where family was waiting and later spoke to law enforcement.
Beverly has told The Register-Herald that all of their lights had gone out shortly after entering the mine and that, in the subsequent chaos, Eddie Williams left and said he would look for help. Beverly said he stayed with the women, who were panicking.
The three were rescued Dec. 12 by a team from West Virginia Office of Mine Health Safety and Training, Contura Energy and the National Guard.
The Register-Herald reports Eddie Williams was indicted in May on charges including trespassing and grand larceny related to the theft of copper wire from an Alpha Resources mine.