Death of 21-year-old woman on Wheeling Island deemed homicide

Crimes and Courts


According to Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, officials are deeming the death of a 21-year-old Wheeling Island woman a homicide.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Schwertfeger said that the cause of death for Rayna Shae Vaughan was blunt force trauma to the head.

Vaughan was found dead in her home on Wheeling Island Wednesday night after police responded to a welfare check.

When officers arrived, they reportedly heard a 2-year-old child crying inside the residence.

According to Schwertfeger, that child has since been placed by DHHR and is doing fine.

At this time, officials say that it is too early to name any suspects or to speculate a motive, but police believe that Vaughan did know her assailant, and that there is no threat to the community.

“After 27-years, I remain disgusted by acts of violence and the lack of compassion for human beings, especially children. So we vow that we will be doing everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice in this case,” said Schwertfeger.

Stay with 7News as more information becomes available.



Wheeling Police are investigating a suspicious death on Wheeling Island.

Rayna Shae Vaughan, 21, of Wheeling, was found dead in a home on Wheeling Island after police responded to a welfare check at 309 South Wabash Street.

When officers arrived, they reportedly heard a small child crying inside the residence.

Officers forced entry, and discovered the small child in one room, and Vaughan in another room.

At this time, police say it is too early to speculate on a cause and manner of death, but the Wheeling Police Department believes the death is suspicious and is treating it as such.

Vaughan’s body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, where detectives are currently attending the autopsy.

Stay with 7News for updates on this story.

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