A West Virginia man has confessed to killing a 13-year-old boy back in 1985 over a dispute about a bicycle, police say.
Jeremiah “Jerry” Watkins was 13 years old when he went missing in the fall of 1985, and was found just a few days later in a shallow hole near some train tracks, The Dominion Post reported. An autopsy revealed that Jerry had suffered a brain bleed, apparently from a blow to the head, but he had ultimately died from a stab wound to his back.
For 37 years, police wondered what had happened to the young teen, until now.
In 1985, police had a person of interest, then 18-year-old David Adams. At the time, Adams even confessed to the crime, Preston County Prosecutor James Shay said, according to Metro News.
“He actually, according to the police report gave a confession back in 1985, he later recanted that confession and ultimately was concluded not to be a suspect back then,” Shay said.
Earlier this month, however, the Preston County Sheriff’s Office reopened the case and began reviewing case records. Investigators noticed inconsistencies in Adams’ statements at the time, so they decided to track him down and speak with him again.
“I was just taking another run at a case that been cold for many years just to see what he could come up with. So it was assigned to him and he did a lot of good work on it,” Shay said, referring to Preston County Sheriff’s Office Captain T.N. Tichnell looking into the case again.
Adams, now 56, admitted to police that he hit Watkins in the face back in 1985 and took him to his shed to stab the young teen. Adams said that he and Watkins had argued over a stolen bicycle at the home in Terra Alta, West Virginia, where Adams lived at the time. Adams then admitted that he “dragged Jeremiah’s body and placed it in the shallow hole,” according to the Post.
Adams has been charged with second-degree murder.
“These are the initial charges, they are subject to change,” Shay said. “Up to the point that this individual might be indicted by the grand jury.”
Sheriff Paul “Moe” Pritt wouldn’t provide additional details, the Post reported, but the outlet noted that more charges are anticipated as police continue investigating the crime.
Adams is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail on a $1 million bond.