Virginia mom, 23, who mysteriously disappeared from front yard found dead; suspect in custody

The body of a mother who vanished earlier this week from her Virginia home was found covered with leaves Thursday morning and a suspect has been arrested, officials said.

Major Michael Sampson of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference that TerriLynn St. John's body was found around 9 a.m. about a mile from her home in Wake, located about 65 miles north of Norfolk.

“The closure on this is not good closure, but it is closure,” Sheriff David Bushey told reporters.

TerriLynn St. John2

TerriLynn St. John's body was found covered in leaves near her home in Wake, Va. on Thursday.  (Facebook)

Authorities said Alvin B. Keyser, 23, has been arrested and is being held in connection with the case. Sampson said he showed authorities where St. John's body was located and is "being fairly cooperative."

"The closure on this is not good closure, but it is closure."

- Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey

Keyser is an acquaintance of St. John, according to Sampson, who added that they investigated the 23-year-old after a post was made on social media regarding statements he made.

"Mr. Keyser showed us where it was at," Sampson said, referring to St. John's body. 

Authorities are expected to release further details once they finish speaking to Keyser.

St. John was reported missing on Tuesday when the front door of her home was found open and her two small children, ages 2 and 3, were alone inside, according to police.


Family members told WTVR they were especially concerned because the vehicle was still in the driveway and there were signs of a struggle.

"They looked through the woods and you could definitely tell there has been a struggle beside my daughter's car," TerriLynn's father, Terry St. John, told WTVR-TV. "Jewelry was all around, like it had been broken off. Her cellphone was found in the bushes."

St. John Car

Family members said they believed St. John struggled with someone in her front yard, near her car on Tuesday morning.  (WTVR via NNS)

St. John’s boyfriend, Mac Kennard, told The Southside Sentinel the last time he saw her was when he kissed her goodbye at 4:20 a.m. that morning before he headed to work.

The sheriff's office had deployed K9 teams and aircraft in the search for St. John, and put out an appeal for information on social media which they said helped lead them to the tragic discovery on Thursday.

"We used cyber information to get what we had to do to get this job completed, and I’m very proud of the citizens that came forward," the sheriff said.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed