Appalachian murder victim identified as town employee, manhunt underway for suspect

Appalachia town manager Fred Lunceford has identified a woman who was killed in Wise County over night as 38-year-old Janina Gina Lorraine Jefferson, a water plant operator for the Town of Appalachia.

Authorities say the homicide occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Wise County Sheriff's Office asked for the public's assistance in finding Eric Monroe Jones, who the department called a person of interest.

Authorities said Jones is to be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. If you have information on his whereabouts, contact 911 or the Wise County Sheriff's Office at 1-276-328-3756.

Lunceford said Jefferson had three children, a freshman in college, a senior in high school and a grade-school aged child. She had reportedly worked at the plant for six years.

Officials with the Wise County Sheriff's Office, Big Stone Gap Police Department and Appalachia Police Department are investigating. No details have been released on how Jefferson was killed.

Jones is also wanted on a felony probation violation with an original charge of attempt murder for hire.

As authorities investigated the homicide, a soft lock down was issued at Union High School Monday afternoon, according to Wise County Public Schools Superintendent Greg Mullins. Mullins said the soft lock down did not interrupt classes and was taken as a precaution. Students did not go outside for P.E. classes or for lunch.

Bristol Herald Courier



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