Hearing continued for man charged with murder in Rayna Vaughan case

Crimes and Courts

UPDATE 5/25:

The Wellsburg man suspected of killing Rayna Shae Vaughan of Wheeling Island was to have his preliminary this afternoon, but attorneys for 27-year-old Branden Ensminger said they just got the case, and need more time to prepare.

Ohio County Magistrate Charlie Murphy granted their request, and the hearing has been rescheduled for June 6th.

Ensminger had a relationship with Vaughan, and was a “person of interest” since early in the case.

Vaughan’s body was found in her South Wabash Street apartment on March 21st.

Officials say she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Her two-year-old daughter was in the apartment at the time.


The Wheeling Police have filed murder charges against Branden Justen Ensminger, 27, of Wellsburg, in connection to the homicide of Rayna Shae Vaughan.

Based off of forensic evidence and interviews, Wheeling detectives believes that Ensminger is responsible for the death of 21-year-old Vaughan, who was found dead in her South Wabash Street apartment on March 21.

Her death was ruled by the WV Medical Examiner’s Office as homicide by blunt force trauma to the head.

Vaughan’s two-year-old daughter was found unharmed in the home after the incident, and is currently doing well.

Ensminger was arrested two days after the incident on charges of contempt and has been in jail ever since.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger held a press conference on May 17 to discuss the new developments.

According to Chief Schwertfeger, Vaughan and Ensminger “resided together at the time, and they were acquaintances” but that Ensminger is not the father of the two-year-old girl.

Ensminger was arraigned on Thursday by Ohio County Magistrate Patricia Murphy for the murder charge.

He remains in the Northern Regional Jail with no bond.

If convicted, Ensminger could face life in prison.

At this time, a preliminary hearing date has not been set.

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