Photo courtesy of Timbra Morris and Christian Michael Jones.
Update: Public Relations Director Corinne N. Geller of the Virginia State Police issued the following update at 3:17 on Friday July 20.
The search for missing 19-year-old Megan L. Metzger remains ongoing Friday (July 20), as the Virginia State Police investigation into her disappearance is actively underway. State police investigators have confirmed that Miss Metzger was last heard from (Tuesday) July 17, 2018. State police is still working with the assistance of family and friends to verify a location where she was last physically seen. Megan has relocated her residence numerous times in the last year, living with various friends and acquaintances. Pamplin, Va. has been her most consistent residence.
State police are especially focusing on the connection between Miss Metzger and the white 2004 Mazda 4-door compact sedan that was found Thursday (July 19) in Westmoreland County. The vehicle had been set fire and Juan Benavidez II, 19, of King George, Va., has been charged with the vehicle arson. The registered owner of the Mazda is Miss Metzger. Benavidez and Megan are acquaintances.
Megan's disappearance is being investigated as an abduction, which qualifies her for the Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Activation. State police continues to work closely with the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office and other local jurisdictions as tips and new leads filter in to investigators.
The Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vehicle fire and apprehended Benavidez at approximately 1 a.m. Friday (July 20). The sheriff's office located the Mazda on Leestown Road near Twilford in Westmoreland County.
State police is asking anyone with information about Megan and/or the white 2004 Mazda (see photo of similar vehicle) to please call state police by dialing #77 or calling 804-553-3445 or sending an email to [email protected]. Anonymous tips are welcome.
July 20, 2018 12:00 p.m.
Information continues to trickle in from law enforcement and the pieces are slowly coming together to explain the huge police presence in Oak Grove, Westmoreland County on Thursday July 19, 2018.
What began as a simple investigation of a “suspect vehicle” in a missing person's case, turned into police responding to a car fire, then an arson investigation and finally a manhunt.
But the story doesn't stop there. After apprehending the suspect in the arson case police still need help to locate missing woman who's family car was burned.
The incident also turned into a social media circus with rumors abound and complaints by citizens that law enforcement was not updating the public.
When in fact law enforcement were continuing to learn new details as the incident unfolded.
Captain Chris Hawkins of the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office said that aspects of the case were unfolding quickly and personnel were tied up looking for the suspect vehicle.
After sifting through numerous reports from agencies, comments from law enforcement and bits and pieces from reputable social media sites this is what we have pieced together.
Rewinding the clock:
Some time on Tuesday was the last time family and friends saw Megan Lorraine Metzger.
Metzger is described as a Caucasian female. She is 19 years old, 5’5″ tall and 150 pounds. Her hair is blonde and her eyes are blue. It is unknown what she was wearing when she was last seen. She has a 5-inch scar on her right arm.
A family members car was suspected to be the vehicle that might lead authorities to finding Metzger so the car was listed as a “suspect vehicle”.
The car was spotted in King George County headed towards Westmoreland County on Thursday.
At approximately 10:52 a.m. on July 19, 2018 Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office responded to the area of Oak Grove in reference to a report of a vehicle ( white, 2004, Mazda 4 door) traveling into the county on Route 3.
According to a press release issued by the WCSO “The vehicle was alleged to have been involved in a missing person case in another jurisdiction that had not yet been reported.”
Once units reached the area they observed smoke and located the vehicle on fire on Leedstown Road near Twiford Road.
Upon further investigation police learned that the driver was 19 year old Jaun Benavidez III of King George, but he had fled the scene.
WCSO obtained a warrant for Benavidez's arrest for arson of a vehicle.
It was rumored that Benavidez had called police stating that he was going to commit acts of violence leading to murder and burn the body in the car. (Police have not confirmed this to this news station)
At 6:30 pm on Thursday, Captain Hawkins of of the Westmoreland Sheriff's department confirmed no body was found in the vehicle, no one had been murdered in Westmoreland County and the manhunt was still ongoing.
Following the car burning State Police issued a “A Critical Missing Alert”
After an exhaustive search of the woods in the area where the car burned police finally ended the search around 10 p.m.
The public woke up to a press release issued by Westmoreland County on their facebook page stating that the suspect Jaun Benavidez had been apprehended.
“A King George man is now behind bars after being apprehended by the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office early Friday (July 20) in the county. Juan Benavidez II, 19, was taken into custody without incident and is being held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail without bond. The Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office has charged him with felony count of arson of a vehicle.”
The Clock Is Ticking
Now police are turning their attention to locating Megan Lorraine Metzger who they fear may be in danger or in need of medical attention.
WCSO said in a press release, “Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office is working with the Virginia State Police to locate a 19-year-old Pamplin woman who has been reported missing. State Police issued a Critically Missing Adult Alert Thursday (July 19) for Megan Lorraine Metzger. Metzger is a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5'5 and weighs 150 lbs. She has a 5-inch scar on her right arm.”
Anyone with information about Megan Metger or Benavidez or recalls seeing a white, 2004, Mazda 4 door in Spotsylvania, King George or Westmoreland counties is encouraged to call 911 or Westmoreland County Master Detective Jones at 804-493-8066 or Virginia State Police in reference to the the missing person case at 804-553-3445
Linda Farneth Colonial Beach News