Longtime West Virginia fugitive identified as dead man found in Ohio in 1988

John Paul Devaughn- Mug
John Paul Devaughn- Mug(U.S. Marshals Service)
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 11:09 AM EST
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - A longtime West Virginia Fugitive was identified as a deceased Man found in Ohio in 1988, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

John Paul Devaughn, of Ritchie County, was wanted for parole violations in West Virginia since 1989, but has been identified as a deceased man in Ohio from 1988.

According to the U.S Marshals, Devaughn was convicted of murder in Ritchie County, WV in May 1983 after he shot and killed his brother-in-law in November 1982. Devaughn served about 5 years in prison before being released on parole in October 1987. Following his release, Devaughn escaped his supervision and had been considered a fugitive since October 1989.

The US Marshals Service Northern District of West Virginia became involved in the search for Devaughn in January 2011. After a 9 year-long search, deputies believed Devaughn may be deceased and collected a voluntary DNA sample from a known living relative for comparison in 2015. The DNA sample was submitted to a company that provides technology, forensic services, and investigative support to resolve missing person cases.


From 2015 through 2020, no unidentified persons matched Devaughn, according to officials. On November 13, 2020, the USMS was notified of a DNA match to an unidentified body located in Ohio in 1988. Investigators in OH matched the DNA sample which was 92.5 billion times more likely to be Devaughn than another person, according to the DNA company.

The mostly skeletal remains were located on April 13, 1988 in a van parked at a junk yard in Portage County, OH. The remains also had a leather bracelet with the inscription “John” printed on it. The unidentified remains had been buried at a cemetery in Mogadore, OH. Devaughn’s family was notified of the identification.

“This case was a true team effort” said US Marshal J.C. Raffety. “The hard work of our deputies, combined with the continued efforts of Portage County, OH authorities, and the forensic technologies utilized by NamUs all were key in bringing closure to this case.”

The following agencies also assisted with this case: WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, WV State Police, Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department, Fairmont Police Department, and Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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