A woman whose body was found in the James River on Tuesday was wanted in connection with an explosion at a methamphetamine lab in western New York state, police there said Wednesday.Briscoe

Amy Sue Briscoe, 36, died after she was swept away by the current while wading in the river with a man about 10 a.m. Tuesday, Richmond police said.

Police in Hornell, N.Y., had been looking for Briscoe and boyfriend Harold Warner, 27, after a meth lab explosion Feb. 19 at an apartment there, according to a story on the website of The Evening Tribune, a newspaper in Hornell.

Hornell police officer W.T. Murphy confirmed in a phone call Wednesday that the woman who died in the James River was the same woman wanted by his department.

Murphy said officers in Hornell think the man rescued Tuesday is Warner. Richmond police have not released the man’s identity.

According to The Evening Tribune, Warner and Briscoe were wanted for second-degree unlawful manufacture of meth.56fd4c554f1e0_image

Investigators said the explosion occurred when an inordinate amount of pressure built up in a container as Briscoe and Warner were cooking meth, the paper reported. After the explosion, witnesses told The Evening Tribune that Briscoe was on fire as she fled the apartment house.

“She was walking down the street on fire with black smoke just smoldering off of her … as if that was a normal thing to do,” Regina Brockway, who lived in the apartment below the explosion, told the paper

Police in New York learned recently that Briscoe and Warner could be in Richmond.

“About three weeks ago we got information that we felt they were in Richmond, Virginia,” Hornell police Chief Ted Murray told The Evening Tribune. “We actually contacted Richmond and gave them the information we had so they could be on the lookout for them.”

Warner has family in the Richmond area, Murray said.

Briscoe and Warner are believed to have been staying in a makeshift camp on the river.

“There’s an area where people live on little islands in the river. They suspect they may have been staying in a tent on one of those islands,” Murray told The Evening Tribune.

Several witnesses told Richmond police that Briscoe and the man she was with were carried downstream and over the low-head dam near the Manchester Bridge.

The man was able to make it to shore, but Briscoe was trapped by the hydraulic current immediately below the dam. Her body eventually floated free and came to rest on a rock downstream.

The Richmond Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team recovered Briscoe’s body about 11:30 a.m. The man was treated for hypothermia.

The medical examiner will determine the exact cause and manner of death.

Richmond police caution that while the days may be getting warmer, the river remains chilly — and powerful.

“As warmer weather approaches, the James River will become a busy place, but people need to be aware of the dangers,” Chief Alfred Durham said. “Everyone needs to respect the power of the river with its cold, swift-moving water. A moment’s inattention or a bad decision can be a life-threatening mistake.

“Be mindful out there,” Durham said.

 

 

 

 

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/article_39b857da-39a0-5987-a592-5346c2f95bae.html

 

RICHMOND, Va. — A suspect in the Friday, Feb. 19 meth lab explosion and fire at 9 Olive Place in Hornell has been found dead after apparently drowning in the James River in Richmond, V.A.drwoning

The body of Amy Sue Briscoe, 36, was pulled from the James River by the Richmond Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team on Tuesday morning, shortly after 10 a.m. She had been spotted with a man believed to be her boyfriend Harold Warner, 27, who is sought by Hornell city police for felony second-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine.

Richmond Police released the following statement on Wednesday, after the recovery of Briscoe’s body from the James River: “Several eyewitnesses have told RPD detectives that Briscoe and another man were wading in the water along the south shore of the James River when they were apparently swept away by the current and carried over a low-head dam near the Manchester Bridge.

“The man was able to make it to shore but Briscoe was trapped by the hydraulic current immediately below the dam. Her body eventually floated free and came to rest on a rock downstream.”

Richmond Police detectives were later able to identify the victim as Briscoe. The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the exact cause and manner of death, authorities said.

The man rescued at the scene, who is thought to be Warner, was being treated for hypothermia.

Hornell Police Chief Ted Murray, who had been in contact with Richmond Police, said that the death looks to be accidental.

“We were notified Tuesday evening that she was found in the James River in Richmond, Va.” Murray said. “They think she had somehow fallen into the river.”

After searching for the couple locally, Hornell Police became aware that they were in or around the Richmond area.

“About three weeks ago we got information that we felt they were in Richmond, Va. We actually contacted Richmond and gave them the information we had so they could be on the lookout for them,” Murray said.

Briscoe and Warner are believed to have been staying in a makeshift camp on the river.

“There’s an area where people live on little islands in the river. They suspect they may have been staying in a tent on one of those islands,” Murray said.

Investigators learned that the couple may have gone to Richmond to seek help from Warner’s family living in the area.

At the time of her death, Hornell Police were working with Briscoe’s mother, who lives locally, to bring a resolution to the case.

“This certainly isn’t the resolution we were looking for. A young girl lost her life and my condolences go out to her family,” Murray said.

According to investigators, the Feb. 9 explosion occurred when an inordinate amount of pressure built up in a container as Briscoe and Warner were cooking up meth. After the explosion, witnesses told The Evening Tribune that Briscoe was on fire as she fled the apartment house.

Samantha R. Beyea, 30, of 9 Olive Place, the single person arrested by police, was charged with second-degree criminal manufacturing of meth, three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, and endangering the welfare of a child.

 

 

 

 

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