Arrest possibly connected to Alexandria murder cases

Alexandria police are eager to question Charles Severance about three high profile murders.

ALEXANDRIA (WUSA9) -- Alexandria police confirm a man was arrested in West Virginia on an outstanding warrant, but they have not connected him to the Alexandria murders.

He was identified as Charles Stanard Severance. Alexandria police say they want to talk to Severance.

According to sources, law enforcement officials showed up to Severance's residence in Ashburn, Va. on Wednesday night, surrounding the home, but did not find him on the property.

Alexandria police released the following statement regarding the Alexandria murders:

"Investigation Continues in Homicide Cases The Alexandria Police Department continues to actively investigate the Ruthanne Lodato, Ron Kirby, and Nancy Dunning homicide cases. There have been no arrests or charges made relating to any of these crimes. Recent news reports have linked Charles Severance to these investigations. Mr. Severance's name was brought to the attention of the Alexandria Police Department during the routine analysis of crime tips. Further investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies determined that Mr. Severance is a convicted felon in unlawful possession of firearms. He was located by law enforcement officials in West Virginia, where he was arrested on a Loudoun County warrant for the weapons violation. The Alexandria Police Department has not charged Mr. Severance with any crime at this time. Detectives continue to follow up on the crime tip information; however, it is premature to name him as the only possible suspect in these investigations. The Police Department will only release information when it has been verified to be accurate. The Police Department encourages the community to consider this investigation ongoing and continue to be aware of their personal safety. Please report information in these cases to the tip line at 703.746.6864 or"

According to Wheeling, West Virginia Police Chief Sean Schwertfeger, Wheeling police were alerted that Charles Severance was wanted in a warrant out of Loudoun County, Va. and could be in a hotel in Wheeling's downtown district. Police went to the hotel and verified that a vehicle belonging to Severance was at the hotel but Severance was not, Schwertfeger said.

MORE: Residents react to Alexandria murder developments

MORE: Who is Charles Severance?

MORE: Congressman Jim Moran on Charles Severance

Severance was located a couple of hours later at a local library, Schwertfeger said, and was arrested without incident. He is currently being held at their Northern Regional Jail.

He was arrested on a felony warrant for possession of a firearm. Schwertfeger said he had apparently been convicted of a felony and therefore not allowed to be in possession of a firearm.

Court documents in Rockingham County, Va. from 2004 also show that Severance was sentenced to 12 months for a concealed weapons charged but that that time was suspended. At the time, his address was listed as Cumberland, Md.

VIEW: Warrant for Charles Severance (PDF)

Our search also found that Severance ran for mayor of Alexandria twice -- in 1996 and 2000. It appears he never made it out of the primary either time.


2000 Washington Post article on Charles Severance:

Alexandria police have been investigating the unsolved murders of Ruthanne Lodato, Ron Kirby and Nancy Dunning, which span a decade. Earlier this week, Kirby's widow told us that detectives believe Kirby's killer opened the front door himself and they are hoping to find his DNA on the door handle. Alexandria Police neither confirmed nor denied that they have the killer's DNA in any of the cases.

Sources tell WUSA9 that a 22-caliber gun was used to kill Kirby, Lodato and Dunning. Alexandria Police say the bullets used in all three murders may have been fired by the same small caliber weapon.

The cases have been assigned to three separate detectives.

The suspect in the Lodato case has been described as an older white male, balding with gray hair, and a full beard. He was last seen wearing tan outerwear, possibly a jacket or work coat.

Some people claim that Severance bares a resemblance to the composite sketch.

Alexandria Police are asking anyone with information to call the tip line at 703-746-6864 or email a tip to


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