Authorities: School bus crash may have saved others from suspected serial killer

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL)- Authorities in Washington County, Virginia say the fact that a suspected serial killer was involved in a bus crash, could have saved others. 

Those same authorities revealed Monday that a man named James Michael Wright admitted to killing three women in Washington County, Virginia.

Sheriff Newman said Wright met all three of those women over a period of time working with a company.

Two of those women’s bodies, those of Elizabeth Vanmeter and Jocelyn Alsup, were found in shallow graves by investigators.

Authorities: Suspect admits to killing three women

Authorities are still searching for the body of a Johnson City mother Athina Hopson. 

Commonwealth Attorney Josh Cumbow said they hope evidence was collected that will lead to more answers and a motive.

Wright has reportedly told investigators all three deaths were accidents.

“I personally do not believe that story. I think it’s outrageous,” Cumbow said. 

Mother of Mendota murder victim Athina Hopson speaks out

It was on the very road where Wright admitted to dumping Athina Hopson’s body that Wright hit a school bus head-on in a crash back in March.

This crash led investigators to find the missing woman’s cell phone in the wreckage.

Cumbow told News Channel 11’s Ashley Sharp that he believes this prevented Wright from killing even more women. 

“I think it probably did stop him. We believe there were three victims in a period of 18 days and once he had the bus crash, that immobilized him, confined him to a wheelchair and it may have saved someone from losing their life,” Cumbow said.  

As of now, the search has been halted for Athina Hopson due to the high river levels.

Sheriff Newman said the search will continue as soon as conditions allow so they can find Athina’s body and work to bring closure to the family. 

James Wright remains in jail without bond.

Sheriff Newman said to address concerns surrounding the triple murder case from people who live in the Mendota community, they will hold a meeting.

That community meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Mendota Community Center. 

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