UPDATE: The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference tomorrow about the ongoing murder case in Mendota, Virginia

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office issued the following email to News Channel 11 just moments ago. 

“A media conference will be held Monday afternoon, May 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm in regards to the investigation that has led to a man being charged with three murders in the Mendota Community.”

There has been no confirmation from the sheriff’s office if any bodies have been recovered at this time.

Several crews assisted during the search attempt on Friday, including Black Diamond Water Rescue. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading the case. 


A Virginia man is facing murder charges as crews continue to search for possible victims in a Washington County river. 

Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Cumbo says James Wright is charged with three counts of capital murder. 

Cumbo says Wright admitted to killing multiple people and dumping their bodies in the North Fork Holston River. 

He is facing a total of nine felony charges. 

Authorities have been searching the river near the Mendota community. 

Cumbo could not confirm if any bodies have been recovered. 

Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman would not release any information about Wright, how he came to confess to the crimes, or any information about the people Wright allegedly killed. Newman told News Channel 11 the following:

“I’m not releasing any information out of respect for family members as next of kin have not been notified and to maintain the integrity of the investigation.”  

Friday night community members in Mendota told us they knew James Wright and his family and were shocked to hear anything like this could happen.

“I mean it’s just pretty scary,” said Tanner Ingle, of Medota. “You see stuff like this all the time but you don’t really think about it, until it happens right in your back door.” 

This is a developing story. Look for updates on WJHL.com.