(08/07/2007)
By Bob Weaver

Problems have flared again regarding lost evidence in a criminal case by the State Police in Grantsville, according to the Professional Standards Unit in Charleston.

Marijuana allegedly taken into evidence in a case brought against Jesse's Run resident Stephen Buvoltz is missing.

Buvoltz was indicted by a Calhoun Grand Jury in January, 2007 on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance after State Police obtained a search warrant, claiming they found 91 plants, described as "live green plants and dried stems suspected to be marijuana."

Police told WVRC Radio in Spencer the plants had a street value of $227,500, an estimate disputed by Buvoltz's defense.

Cpl. Doug Starcher obtained the warrant and led the drug search on the Buvoltz property, based on information obtained by Trooper I. B. Jackson during a traffic stop a few hours earlier in Roane County.

About a week after police seized the alleged marijuana and other drug paraphernalia on October 1, 2006, Bulvotz was charged with wanton endangerment, police said he was shooting a gun randomly on or near his property, allegedly endangering his wife and others.

Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney advised Buvoltz's attorney Rocky Holmes about the lost evidence problem on June 27, 2007.

Minney wrote "I have been informed by the Professional Standards Unit of the West Virginia State Police that certain items stored at the Grantsville State Police detachment have been found to be missing."

"While the majority of items have nothing to do with active cases, a few of the missing items are relevant."

"Specifically, I have been informed that some of the controlled substances seized from the home of Mr. Stephen Buvoltz was among the missing items."

However, Cpl. (D. P. "Doug") Starcher has assured me that enough remains to be sampled if necessary."

The search warrant for the Buvoltz property was issued for Arron Lloyd, son of Stephen Buvoltz's wife Patsy, after two juveniles told a Spencer State Trooper they had purchased marijuana three days earlier from Lloyd.

Lloyd was incarcerated in Central Regional Jail on other charges at the time.

This week, during a Circuit Court hearing, the Buvoltz case was continued to the Fall term of court following further review.

Earlier, Sgt. C. J. Ellyson apparently lost or threw away evidence in a meth case against Grantsville resident John Manis Richards. The charges were eventually dropped against Richards.

Sgt. Ellyson, according to the State Police, has been removed from the organization, reportedly related to the evidence problem or other issues related to his performance.

State Police officials have declined to release public information related to Ellyson's exact problem, or whether Ellyson will still be eligible for retirement from the force.


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