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Severance Now Considered 'Primary Focus' Of Alexandria Murder Investigation

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Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook calls Charles Severance the "primary focus" of an ongoing triple-murder investigation.
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Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook calls Charles Severance the "primary focus" of an ongoing triple-murder investigation.

Police officials in Alexandria are narrowing the focus of their investigation into three unsolved murders.

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook doesn't want to call Charles Severance a "suspect" in the murders, and he's uncomfortable with calling him a "person of interest." But now that prosecutors in Loudoun County are moving forward with a firearms charge, the chief has a new way to describe Severance's relationship to the ongoing investigation. Cook calls Severance the "primary focus."

"We started with Mr. Severance as a tip like we got from other people, and before we had the opportunity to attempt to talk to him he was leaving town," Cook says.

Some of those details emerged this week, when Severance's former girlfriend testified that an Alexandria detective left a business card on the windshield of her car. When she confronted Severance about it, he left town—and two revolvers went missing from her house. Now the Alexandria Police Chief says Severance has become the center of their investigation into three murders: Nancy Dunning in 2003, Ron Kirby in 2013 and Ruthanne Lodato earlier this year.

"We do not normally talk about people we are looking at in an investigation," Cook says. "It was only the unique circumstances around him that we are discussing him."

Cook declined to elaborate on what those circumstances are, and his department has yet to file any charges against Severance. But the chief says he wants to close the case as soon as possible.

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