(09/07/2001)
The Burner family remains unsettled about the unattended death of Stephen O. Burner, 39, whose body was discovered at a cabin near Creston, Wirt County on July 2. Burner's mother, Madeline Calvert Burner, says she believes people were present in the dwelling when the man died, but State Police have apparently closed the case.

Mrs. Burner says she is "out of the loop" in receiving information about his death, and her written requests go unanswered. The Hur Herald filed a Freedom of Information request regarding autopsy results and other information about the case, which the department denied under West Virginia law. They would not confirm the case is closed, although his mother has been advised it is.

Mrs. Burner was told by Trooper William Marshall of Wirt County, her son died of natural causes related to drug and alcohol use. She has been unable to receive any written information and "The death certificate still says pending," as to cause of death.

Burner suffered from alcoholism and drug addition for many years and had gone to Westbrook mental health in Parkersburg two weeks before his death, seeking help. He told the counselor he could not get clean and "friends were cooking crystal meth at his house," according to his mother and nephew.

She said police had names of subjects associated with her son, after some of them discovered his body. "I believe people were there when he died, and the investigation was stopped too early."

Ms. Burner has turned to many different agencies, most of which she says are not responsive. "Somehow I just don't feel right about this," she concluded.


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