EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCharges In 2001 Putnam Co. Murder Could Be Dropped
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kera Mashek
Videographer: Shelby Spradling
Web Producer: Kera Mashek
Reported: Aug. 28, 2013 9:13 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 29, 2013 7:37 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A Kanawha County family is heartbroken, learning the man they thought murdered their loved one will likely now go free.
It's been 12 years since Ronald Thomas' wife Yvonne went missing and was later found murdered, but to him, the pain of losing her is still fresh.
"As soon as I start talking about it, I start crying. 23 years we was married and together for 25. She was my best friend. I miss her somethin' terrible," Thomas said.
Thomas and his family have been through a lot since Yvonne was killed.
Police had few clues. Investigators ultimately determined Yvonne was last seen alive at a bar in Cedar Grove, was killed in Red House, and her body dumped along a creek in Lincoln county. But for years, it seemed like her murder would never get solved.
Ronald Thomas says a phone call two years ago from a state trooper changed everything...
"He said, 'I made your day. I broke the case. I go the man who did it, and I got the witness who was with him.' I was so happy. I told him, 'If I could kiss you through this phone I would,'" Thomas said.
That suspect, Matt Little, was arrested and charged with first degree murder. His alleged accomplice had been feeding information to police while in prison on unrelated charges, saying he even helped little dump Yvonne's body. But prosecutors say the witness' behavior became erratic and his story kept changing, leaving them with a weak case and the decision to move to dismiss the charges against Little
"It's not right. What's the matter with our system?" said Thomas.
Despite his heartbreak that the person he believed was responsible for killing his wife could now go free, Thomas says all hope is not lost. He pleads with anyone who might have information about her death, to please come forward.
"What if it was your mother? Your wife? Your sister? Your grandmother? Or aunt? Wouldn't you want to know? I think we deserve that, too," Thomas said.
Prosecutors expect a judge to review the motion to dismiss charges against Matt Little next week, but say if new evidence comes to light, charges could certainly be refiled.
Yvonne Thomas' family is still hopeful that will happen, and are considering a wrongful death lawsuit.
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