Skeletal remains in Powell might be missing Montgomery woman

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJanuary 15, 2010 

CLAY CITY — Skeletal remains found Thursday in rural Powell County might be those of a woman reported missing from Montgomery County in December 2003, police said Friday.

Montgomery County Sheriff Fred Shortridge said there is no positive identification, but he suspects the remains are of Sabrina Marie Vaughn.

"I'm 99.9 percent sure that's who it is," Shortridge said.

In addition, Shortridge said Bass Webb is a "person of interest" in Vaughn's disappearance. The two dated, and Webb was questioned by police some years ago, "but he clammed up when we brought Sabrina up," Shortridge said.

Webb, who is in the Fayette County jail, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Bryia Runiewicz, 32, who was found dead July 31 in her Harrison County home.

Shortridge said a man in custody in Montgomery County tipped investigators to a person who led them to a dead-end road in northern Powell County where a human leg bone was found Thursday night after digging no more than 2 feet. Shortridge would not identify the people who led investigators to the site.

Digging on Friday turned up more skeletal remains, Shortridge said. And he said Dr. Emily Craig, the state medical examiner who was at the scene north of Clay City, determined that the remains were those of a female.

The site, owned by a Powell County bank, is in a heavily wooded area near the Montgomery County line. Kentucky State Police detectives and Powell County Coroner Carl Wells also were t the scene Friday.

Vaughn, who was in her 20s, was last seen in December 2003, Shortridge said. The Mount Sterling Advocate reported that it was not unusual for Vaughn to be unaccounted for for days, and she would stay with friends or relatives in Powell, Bath and Carter counties. She was last seen at a home in Bath County and at another residence in Menifee County, the paper reported.

Police said Webb, 30, confessed to killing Runiewicz after allegedly trying to run over two Bourbon County jail employees in July. A detective testified in court last year that Webb told police he cut off Runiewicz's head and then left her lying on a couch covered with a blanket.

Webb also has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder related to the jail employees.

Webb also faces a contempt charge in Bourbon County for spitting on District Judge Vanessa Dickson during an arraignment on the attempted-murder charges.

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