Police: Person of interest in Parkersburg homicide case commits suicide

PARKERSBURG — One day after the Wood County Sheriff’s Office began a homicide investigation following the discovery of a man’s body behind an Emerson Avenue business, another man committed suicide after police asked to talk with him.

Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said the incident happened about 5 p.m. Saturday in the 16th Street and St. Marys Avenue area of Parkersburg.

Officials were contacting a person of interest involved in the homicide investigation of Kevin Adam King, 38, of 280 Forest Ave., Mineral Wells, whose body was discovered Friday morning behind a business in the 5200 block of Emerson Avenue. King’s death was being investigated as a homicide.

Stephens said Andrew Thomas Whipkey, 34, of 1408 Spring St., Parkersburg, was an associate of King. Detectives with the WCSO made contact with Whipkey late Saturday afternoon outside his residence, before he went inside and refused to come out and talk, Detectives made contact by cellphone with Whipkey, but he refused to come out and speak with them, Stephens said.

As detectives were working on obtaining a warrant, Whipkey exited his residence, got in his vehicle and drove a few blocks away to the area of 16th and St. Marys, where officers attempted to make a stop on a traffic violation, he said.

At that point, Whipkey pulled into the Go Mart parking lot at that location and then fired one shot into his head area, committing suicide, Stephens said. The time of the suicide was 5:12 p.m., with the whole situation taking 20 to 30 minutes to occur.

Stephens said he couldn’t say anything further about Whipkey’s possible involvement in the King homicide investigation, other than he was a strong person of interest. Detectives still have other leads to follow and that case remains an open investigation, he said.

As is policy in such incidents, Stephens said an outside agency has been asked to investigate the suicide and that will be handled by the Parkersburg Police Department.

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