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Friday morning fire displaces three Front Royal families



A Friday-morning fire on Virginia Ave. in town displaced four families, officials say. / Courtesy photos

An early Friday morning fire at 204 Virginia Ave. in Front Royal displaced three families, according to a press release from Warren County Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie.

Department of Fire and Rescue Services were dispatched to 204 Virginia Avenue in Front Royal for a reported apartment building fire. The release states that a call came in at 6:40 a.m. advising flames were visible on the upper floor of the building.

Fire and Rescue Units arriving on the scene of the large, multi-story apartment complex found flames visible in a 4th floor unit and a significant amount of smoke emitting from the roof system.  

Front Royal Police Department officers evacuated the building while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters arriving on scene found smoke and flames emitting from the fourth floor of the building.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within 15 minutes of arriving on the scene, Mabie stated in the release, though units remained on the scene throughout the morning performing salvage and overhaul procedures and assisting in the fire investigation. 

Working the call were: Truck 1, Truck 10, Engine 6, Engine 4, Tanker 3, Medic 1-2, Chief 100, FM 1,  Investigator 177, EM 2 and Middletown Medic 12 served as station fill during the operation.

Families displaced by the fire are being helped by the American Red Cross, officials say.

Occupants from three of the apartments within the 10-unit complex were displaced as a result of the fire and are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross. The fire caused approximately $150,000 in damages; there were no reported injuries.

The cause of the fire incident is under investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Front Royal Criminal Investigations Division, which received assistance from the Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office Canine Division.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Detective Marc Ramey at 540-636-2208.


Defense suppression motion denied – toddlers mom’s trial looming



A later mug shot of Tabitha Zimmerman – Zimmerman who is free on bond was in the courtroom for Monday’s hearing. Courtesy Photo RSW Regional Jail

On Monday, March 25, Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. denied a defense motion to suppress the confession of Tabitha Rose Zimmerman to neglectful complicity in the death of her 22-month-old son Malachi, and the non-fatal abuse of Malachi’s twin brother Micah on November 8, 2017.

Zimmerman was at work on the night shift at Rubbermaid when informed by then-fiancé Chad Ritchie by phone the night of Malachi’s death that there was a physical problem with her children. Zimmerman has been charged on two counts of cruelty and injuries to children revolving around what prosecutors contend was a willful neglect of signs of a pattern of abuse of her children by her former fiancé Chad Ritchie.

Athey ruled that despite the lengthy time Zimmerman was held in custody without charges before her confession that it had been given voluntarily. Defense counsel John Bell had argued that his client’s lengthy detention, over 13 hours in the immediate wake of her son’s death at the hands of Ritchie while she was at work, led to a confession obtained under emotional duress.

In Tabitha Rose Zimmerman’s initial RSW Jail mugshot she is wearing the sort of protective vest sometimes indicative of inmates who have tried to harm themselves. Courtesy Photo RSW Regional Jail

The judge also ruled that Zimmerman’s lengthy detention without charges was not illegal. Athey noted law enforcement’s explanation that while holding Zimmerman for questioning, they were also examining the crime scene and obtaining information on the circumstances leading to Malachi’s death and Micah’s hospitalization.

On Friday, March 22, Athey sentenced Ritchie to serve 20 years of a 55-year sentence in the death and abuse of the twin brothers. Ritchie entered an Alford guilty plea on the second day of his December 2018 trial. In an Alford plea a defendant admits the prosecution has the evidence to convict, while not admitting guilt. See Related Story:

Ritchie will serve 20 years in death and injuries inflicted to toddler twins

At what is projected to be a three-day trial beginning April 8, Bell will argue, as Ritchie’s counsel did at his trial and sentencing hearing, that older bruising on the children was a result of falling and an active lifestyle, rather than an indication of a long-term pattern of abuse. Ritchie defense attorney Jason Ransom described his client’s actions of November 8, 2017, as one terrible lapse of anger management leading to an uncharacteristic outburst of physical violence against children he loved and hoped to eventually adopt.

Chad Ritchie’s RSW mug shot at the time of his November 2017 arrest. Courtesy Photo RSW Regional Jail

Ritchie’s defense contention was that Malachi’s death was caused by incorrectly administered CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) by a panicking large man on a small child, rather than the earlier striking of Malachi in the head and stomach that Ritchie admitted to while watching the twins on November 8, 2017.

Malachi’s cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrest brought on by internal bleeding from a ruptured intestine that flooded the child’s stomach cavity. See Related Story:

Toddler death defense – ‘a horrific accident’ – prosecution ‘Really?’

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Ritchie will serve 20 years in death and injuries inflicted to toddler twins



Chad Ritchie’s RSW Jail mug shot at time of arrest November 2017 – Courtesy Photo RSW Jail

After four hours of pre-sentencing testimony and arguments on Friday afternoon, Chad Ritchie was ordered to serve 20 years of a 55-year sentence imposed by Warren County Circuit Court Judge Clifford L. “Clay” Athey in the death of one, and beating of a second 22-month-old twin child in November 2017.

Ritchie, 28 at the time of his November 2017 arrest, entered Alford guilty pleas on the second day of his December 2018 trial on four charges stemming from the death of 22-month-old toddler Malachi Zimmerman and for non-fatal injuries inflicted to Malachi’s twin brother Micah on November 8, 2017. Ritchie was watching the children of his then girlfriend Tabitha Zimmerman at Zimmerman’s parents’ home where they shared a residence, while Zimmerman was on night-shift at Rubbermaid where both she and Ritchie worked and had met.

Following his choice to enter Alford guilty pleas to a charge of second degree murder in the death of Malachi; malicious wounding of Micah; and one count of endangerment of each child, Ritchie faced guidelines ranging from 15 years of actual incarceration on the low end to a high end of 20 years in prison, with a mid-range of 17 years. In an Alford plea a defendant admits the prosecution has enough evidence to convict without admitting guilt.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say prior to sentencing, Ritchie hesitated before quietly saying, “No.”

The defense contended the cause of Malachi’s death was not being struck by Ritchie, but rather by a large and panicking man incorrectly administering CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) when he discovered Malachi unconscious and unresponsive in a bedroom where he left him to prepare a bath for the child after his earlier admitted striking of the children.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing defense attorney Jason Ransom reiterated his trial contention that the 6-foot-plus, 220-pound Ritchie had administered CPR as one would to an adult, with two hands and two arms thrusting fully at the abdomen of the child. After being treated by Warren County Fire and Rescue at the scene and in transport to Warren Memorial Hospital, Malachi Zimmerman was pronounced dead at the hospital. Cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrest brought on by internal bleeding from a ruptured intestine that flooded the child’s stomach cavity. See Related Story:

Toddler death defense – ‘a horrific accident’ – prosecution ‘Really?’

However, Layton countered that Ritchie claimed to be and apparently was certified in the administration of CPR – and that someone certified in CPR would not have made such a mistake.

“He was trained … he should have done better but he was freaking out,” Ransom told the court of the adult level of force he contended his client used in trying to revive a 22-month-old child.

A later RSW mug shot from December 2018 illustrates Chad Ritchie’s appearance for trial. Ritchie was wearing jail clothes from another facility (NRADC) during Friday’s hearing. Courtesy Photo RSW Jail

At trial in December and again during the March 22 sentencing hearing the defense attempted to portray Ritchie as a loving father figure to the children who had one terrible lapse of anger management leading to an uncharacteristic outburst of physical violence against the twins.

“That particular day a parent (figure) who because he was overwhelmed … he lost his cool – when someone that size loses it, this is where we are. That child is gone forever and when Mr. Ritchie gets out of prison he will have to live with that,” defense counsel Ransom told the court.

“This has crushed him; this has crushed his spirit … what he did was wrong and he’s got to pay for it – the question is how hard,” Ransom asked. “I don’t think the court needs to teach him not to do this again. We would agree to 20 years if it repeatedly happened. But I think this was a one-time occurrence. This was the worst day in everyone in this family’s life. We ask for 15 to 17 years,” Ransom concluded in seeking a lower to mid-range time of incarceration.

However, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton countered that the court should weigh the impacts on the real victims, Malachi and Micah, their mother and grandparents, rather than how Ritchie might be impacted by a few additional years behind bars.

As to Ransom’s question on how harsh a sentence his client should receive, for maternal grandmother Rosemary Zimmerman, who with husband Daniel is raising the surviving twin pending resolution of related charges against their daughter, the answer was harsh. In the day’s most emotional testimony Rosemary Zimmerman described the impact on the family.

“I was the last one to see him (Malachi) when he was carried up to the ambulance. You could tell he was dead. He was way past the color for normal … it happened in our house … they thought we were involved in this sickness,” she told the court, voice rising, starting to cry.

“The guy admitted he killed the baby and we’re suffering for it. I can’t see my daughter; and the kids (Micah and a half sister) can’t see her because of a court order against her … Malachi was dead before he got CPR,” his grandmother told the court.

Then turning toward Ritchie at the defense table, voice rising, Rosemary Zimmerman yelled, “You killed him!!! Give him the max; I don’t even know what it is at this point.”

Mitigation witnesses for the defense included Ritchie’s parents, siblings and friends who all described the defendant as good around children, including the twins from their experience. They also referenced Facebook photos appearing to indicate a positive relationship between Ritchie and the twins posted prior to the tragedy.

However, prosecutor Layton pointed to evidence, including the defendant’s own verbal and written interviews with authorities in the wake of Malachi’s death and his brother Micah’s treatment for injuries at the hospital the night of November 8, 2017.

“He was so upset the kids weren’t behaving the way he wanted them to that he took cigarette breaks to try and calm down,” Layton told the court. He pointed to the defendant’s description of events indicating that Malachi had lain down and cried for 10 minutes after being struck by Ritchie one of the earlier of three times the defendant admitted to hitting the child. Upset by that continuous crying, Ritchie returned to again strike the child, choking and body slamming him, Layton said, “Then he stopped crying – how hard to you have to hit a child to stop him from crying like that,” Layton asked the court.

“He (Ritchie) tried to minimize it from the outset,” Layton said of the defendant’s portrayal of events. “The defense says he was panicking. But look at the text he sent Tabitha Zimmerman – what does he tell her, ‘Get your ass home – we have a problem.’

“A dead child is not a problem; a dead child is a tragedy. He deserves far more than 20 years,” Layton told the court of the sentencing guidelines.

Noting the defendant’s age, Judge Athey observed that unlike Malachi Zimmerman “Mr. Ritchie will get a second chance” when he is released around age 50.

Following his sentencing of Ritchie, Athey set Monday for a pre-trial hearing on charges the twins’ mother faces related to the case. A three-day trial has been set for April 8-10 for Tabitha Zimmerman, 29, on two counts of cruelty and injuries to children revolving around the prosecution theory that the violence of November 8, 2017, was a culmination of a pattern of abuse by Ritchie that the mother was aware of and allowed to continue.

Her attorney John Bell was a spectator at both Ritchie’s trial of December 10-11 and Friday’s sentencing hearing. Bell agrees with the Ritchie defense team on one aspect of the case, that older bruises found on the twins were a result of the toddler’s active lifestyle, horseplay and rough housing with each other, rather than a long-term pattern of physical abuse by Ritchie, at least any pattern of behavior the children’s mother was aware of.

Tabitha Zimmerman at time of her arrest on charges she failed to act on indications of a pattern of abusive behavior by her boyfriend toward her children. Courtesy Photo RSW Jail

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Two Stephens City men die in Saturday night crash



FREDERICK COUNTY – Two young men from Stephens City died in a single-vehicle crash on Double Church Road in Frederick County Saturday evening, Virginia State Police say.

Sergeant Brent Coffey, spokesman with the Virginia State Police, said in an email Sunday morning that a 1992 Honda Civic was traveling south on Double Church Road (Rt. 641) about a half-mile from Refuge Church Road (Route 639) when the driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed the center-line, ran off the left side of the road and struck several trees.

The driver of the Honda, Gavin P. Tylen, 22, of Stevens City, Va., died at the scene as a result of his injuries. He was not wearing his seat belt.
A passenger, Jacob M. Stevens, 18, also of Stephens City, Va., died at the scene as a result of his injuries. Steven was not wearing his seat belt.

Coffey said speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation by Virginia State Police Trooper S.R. Marks.

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Local News

I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes week of March 24, 2019



As weather conditions allow, crews will continue corridor-wide roadway maintenance and address issues as needed, with daily multi-lane closures during daytime and overnight hours on I-66 East and West. Additional activities include:

• Constructing bridge foundations at I-495, Route 28, and Route 234 Business interchanges and the Bull Run Drive overpass

• Constructing retaining walls along I-66

• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and drainage installation at the Route 28, Route 123, Route 50, and I-495 interchanges, and other work zone locations along the corridor

• Paving in the median at the Route 123 interchange

• Clearing trees and brush at the future Manassas Park and Ride Lot near Balls Ford Road

• Grading and drainage installation at the future University Boulevard Park and Ride Lot

• Grading and excavating for the new E.C. Lawrence Park access road

• Relocating underground and overhead utilities along I-66 and Route 28

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting or downloading the Virginia511 app.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Route 28 North and South at E.C. Lawrence Park
Monday, March 25: 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Temporary outage of the traffic signal at Route 28 North and South at E.C. Lawrence Park for power relocation. The left turn lane from Route 28 North into E.C. Lawrence Park and the left turn lane from E.C. Lawrence Park to Route 28 North will be temporarily closed. Right turns into and out of E.C. Lawrence Park will remain open.

Route 28 North from I-66 to Westfields Boulevard
Thursday, March 28: 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Two lanes closed to implement long-term lane shifts for construction. Drivers should expect occasional 20-minute stoppages along northbound Route 28 between midnight and 4 a.m.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Ramp from Route 50 West to I-66 West
Sunday, March 24: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Monday, March 25: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Temporary closure of the ramp. Traffic will be detoured farther west to Route 608 (West Ox Road) South, then directed to stay to the right for Route 50 East, then follow signs to I-66 West.

Route 123 North and South from White Granite Drive to Eaton Place
Tuesday, March 26: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
One lane closed on northbound and southbound Route 123. Drivers should expect occasional 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to install traffic signals.

Ramp from Route 123 South to I-66 West
Friday, March 29: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Temporary closure of the ramp to implement long-term lane shift on the ramp. Traffic will be detoured farther south to the ramp for I-66 East, stay to the right for Route 123 North, and then follow signs to I-66 West.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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EDA in Focus

As audit information received in closed sessions, EDA authorizes litigation



Following a two-hour-and-10-minute closed session on Friday morning, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors unanimously authorized the Sands-Anderson law firm to file litigation on its behalf. The Richmond law firm was contracted at an initial cap of $100,000 for legal work associated with the now six-month, quarter-million dollar audit investigation into EDA finances.

During a break prior to the convening of a second March 22 closed session, EDA counsel Dan Whitten and Board Chairman Gray Blanton declined to elaborate on the kind of litigation, when it would be filed, or whether there will be multiple filings or targets of that litigation.

Asked those same questions upon his exit an hour into the EDA board’s second closed session of the day, Sands-Anderson attorney Cullen Seltzer also declined further comment, though acknowledged to the media present, “Those are all perfectly reasonable questions.”

Apparently just not answerable until that EDA litigation is filed.

Sands-Anderson attorney Cullen Seltzer, right, and unidentified man who also stayed in closed session discussion of pending litigation to be filed on the EDA’s behalf related to its audit investigation. Photos/Roger Bianchini

Questioned about the reluctance to elaborate on the litigation to be filed by the law firm contracted for audit-related services, Whitten said only that since it is still pending litigation some detail or circumstance of the filing might not yet be finalized, so no additional public comment would be made prior to that filing.

However, Board Chairman Blanton said that a press release concerning the litigation could be forthcoming from the EDA upon its filing. The now six-month long, quarter-million dollars and climbing audit of EDA finances began a month after the Town of Front Royal Finance Department’s August 2018 discovery of nearly a decade of debt service overpayments to the EDA totaling over $391,000. Consequently it is believed the current exploration of EDA finances goes back far beyond the normal annual audit done by Yount-Hyde-Barbour at a cost of around $17,000.

The EDA has already approved payment of $150,000 to the unnamed audit consultant, and up to $100,000 of funding to Sands-Anderson for legal work related to the audit and audit investigation.

Seltzer and unidentified closed session participant, left, chat between Friday-morning closed sessions.

During a total of three-hours-and-20-minutes of closed sessions Friday the EDA received legal consultation on the litigation it is now poised to file; and information related to “EDA loan programs, accounting and debt service issues and related matters” – all topics included in the ongoing audit and audit investigation begun last September.

See a soon-to-be published, related story on the resignations of EDA board members Greg Drescher and Ron Llewellyn submitted following the second closed session of March 22. Those resignations come four days after the resignation of EDA Administrative Assistant Missy Henry on Monday. Both Drescher and Llewellyn, whose terms expired at the end of February, indicated they wanted to stay on pending completion of the audit investigation, which appears to be nearing.

See Ed Daley’s motion and the board’s unanimous vote in support of the motion to authorize litigation related to the pending report on EDA finances in this Royal Examiner video:

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Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Director McDonald formed LLC, bought nearly $3 million in real estate



Sheriff Danny McEathron, who announced March 18 he would retire May 1, has bought $2,849,700 worth of real estate with former EDA director Jennifer McDonald since 2016/ File photo

FRONT ROYAL – Since forming a limited liability company, or LLC in August, 2016, Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, who resigned via email in late Dec., 2018 as her board was meeting to discuss her performance, have spent nearly $3 million on real estate, sometimes paying as much as $1 million in cash for choice land in desirable locations.

BREAKING NEWS: Sheriff McEathron announces he’ll retire May 1

The duo’s first recorded transaction as business entity DaBoyz, LLC occurred in September of 2016 and lists both their names on the deed, recorded as Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016, at 3:38 p.m.

That first purchase would soon be followed by others, including a peculiar transaction in which McEathron and McDonald sold the property from the aforementioned first purchase back to the original owners at a staggering loss of $600,000.

Royal Examiner learned of DaBoyz shortly after it formed, and reached out to Ms. McDonald to discuss the LLC and how she might need to conduct business in order to prevent a perceived or actual conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety. We were told by then-director McDonald it was her private business, it was unrelated to her EDA business and any concern on our part was unwarranted.

We pressed, questioning Ms. McDonald as to why she held two real estate licenses. On May 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Professionals and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) License Lookup database indicated that she held a real estate individual license, ranked as a sole broker. Her second license was for a real estate firm.

McDonald charged with filing a false police report

After an alleged May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA office, located on Kendrick Lane, and the subsequent arrest nearly a year later of McDonald for filing a false police report regarding an allegedly staged incident at her home at 158 Faith Way in Front Royal, This reporter wrote to Warren County Sheriff McEathron, in a June 6, 2018 email:

“Sheriff McEathron:

“I contacted your office last fall regarding the call made to the Warren County 911 Center by Jennifer McDonald alleging an incident occurring at her home at 158 Faith Way.  The call came in on June 15, at approximately 21:02.

“Attached is the document that Lt. Foster forwarded to me in Sept. saying that information could not be shared at that time.  Are you now able to share any information in light of the warrant of arrest for Ms. McDonald, and her charge of filing a false police report?

“Has your office turned over files, and any information contained therein to the Virginia State Police?  The Front Royal Police Department was asked to cease its investigation by the EDA Board via a letter from Chairman Greg Drescher on behalf of the board, in July 2017.  Was your office also asked to stop its investigation?

“If it was, did your office cease its investigation?’

“As you, your wife and Ms. McDonald appear to be business partners with real estate holdings in at least two counties, do you have a comment on how Ms. McDonald’s arrest and charge might affect that partnership?”

Sheriff McEathron’s reply, the next morning, June 19, 2018:

“Good morning Norma Jean,

“In response to your questions the case you have referenced was turned over to the VSP in March of 18, my office would have no comment on another agencies[sic] open case and no my office was not asked to “cease” our Investigation.

“As to your last question on what may ‘appear’ to you, I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.

“My wife has never been part or involved in what you call ‘business partners’!

“I have not been a ‘business partner’ as you say since September of 2017!
So, therefore, I do not have a comment on your last question.

“Thanks, Danny”

Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s response, Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw replied on June 19, 2018, with the following email:


“Thank you for your prompt reply.  I appreciate it.

“I’m so sorry to keep bothering you, but I am confused regarding the DaBoyz business.  You say you have not had any “business partner” status with Jennifer McDonald since 2017… and that your wife never had any relationship with DaBoyz… yet you both listed it on your financial disclosures.

“Why would you list that, if you were not involved? Why would Mrs. McEathron do so?

“Moreover, if that relationship ended in 2017, as you stated in the previous email, why would you have listed it on the financial disclosure required by the ethics council?

“My copy of your form was signed by you on January 24, 2018, and clearly shows you listed DaBoyz, LLC and also rental property in Virginia Beach, co-owned with Jennifer McDonald.  That would appear to make you and Ms. McDonald business partners, would it not?

“As you said, regarding me, ‘I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.’

“Thank you for your time,

“Norma Jean”

Sheriff McEathron replied the next day, June 20, 2018, with the following response:

“Norma Jean,

“Elected officials are required to report any information as it relates to the Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest forms from the Commonwealth. Those reports are submitted in the next calendar year for the previous year. Likewise elected Spouses are responsible for putting them on their forms as well even when they are not directly involved, just because a family member is so it discloses any information. When you look at my next SOEI/COI documents you will see what I was/was not in 2018. I won’t have any more comment on my personal life because it’s all in my disclosure forms as required by law.

“Thanks, Danny”

Following the paper trail

In March of 2018, Editor Norma Jean Shaw reached out to Mrs. McEathron, the sheriff’s wife and a Warren County School Board member, who is required by Va. Code to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form.

The email, in part, stated, “Mrs. McEathron:

“In going over the financial disclosure of each member of the school board, I noticed that you had listed DaBoyz, LLC on your financial disclosure and that your husband had also listed the company on his.

“Having talked to Jennifer McDonald about her company, DaBoyz LLC last year, I was aware of its existence, but after she came to the Royal Examiner to share her story about her good fortune of winning a large sum of money over time at the Charles Town casino, I find it to be newsworthy that she has purchased real estate locally.

“I am working on a story currently and have the following questions for you:

“Are you a business partner of Ms. McDonald’s?

“If you are, what percentage of the company do you own?  If not, why is the company listed on your financial disclosure form?

“Have you invested any money in her company, or towards the purchase of land?

“I would appreciate a chance to speak with you.

Mrs. McEathron sent a terse response three days later, “I filed my 2017 Statement of Economic Interest report as every elected official is required by law, every year. I have no other comment.”

Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form, filed Jan. 29, 2019, he was, in fact, a business partner of Jennifer McDonald and also a part-owner of DaBoyz, LLC, in 2017 and beyond, despite his denials in the June 20, 2018 email to Norma Jean Shaw.

Sheriff Daniel McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest Form 2019

Donna McEathron’s 2019 Statement of Economic Interest, signed on Jan. 30, also lists Jennifer McDonald as a business partner and similarly lists DaBoyz, LLC as an asset for the previous year, 2018. View Here

Despite Sheriff McEathron’s claims that he and the former Front Royal-Warren County EDA Director Jennifer McDonald parted company as business partners in 2017, the Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council online searchable database, which stores the Statement of Economic Interest forms for all Constitutional Officers in Virginia, says otherwise.

In fact, back on August 2, 2016, five months after EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron partnered up for several joint interviews regarding the anonymous benefactor who would fund a new $8 million regional justice academy in Warren County, (They were interviewed by this reporter in March 2016 on a radio news program which she hosted during the noon hour at a local station) they formed DaBoyz LLC, with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. DaBoyz LLC

Jennifer McDonald, showing off her gambling slips to reporter Roger Bianchini, She approached him about doing a story on her good fortune in winning big at a West Virginia casino.

DaBoyz LLC purchased two contiguous pieces of property on Buck Mountain Road in the Bentonville area of Warren County.  The first, about 72.6 acres, was purchased from Rappawan, Inc., a local construction company, for $900,000. (Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016)

The second tract of land, about 73.3 acres, was purchased from William T. Vaught, Jr. (a local builder) for $1 million.   Some Vaught family members have ownership in Rappawan Inc.; William T. Vaught, Jr. signed the deed on behalf of Rappawan Inc.

Just five weeks later, those two same land tracts were sold back to the original owners, Rappawan Inc., and William T. Vaught, Jr., for significantly less money.

The Rappawan property was sold back to Rappawan for $650,000; The William T. Vaught, Jr. property was also sold back to William T. Vaught, Jr. for $650,000.  Why did DaBoyz LLC spend $1.9 million to purchase these two properties and then, a month later, sell them back to the previous owners for a total of  $1.3 million? Why did DaBoyz LLC, seemingly give Rappawan/Vaught $600,000 for no discernible reason?

Sheriff McEathron and McDonald, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 68 Pine Hills Road, in Front Royal, for $60,000.

McDonald and Sheriff McEathron, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 41 acres of prime residential development land and a house at 1321 Happy Creek Road, Front Royal, for $1 MILLION CASH.

The property is near the recently-completed Leach Run Parkway, which happens to be an EDA project. Moreover, the property was listed by Century 21 Campbell Realty on 3/10/2017 and the contract was submitted on 3/12/2017. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.

Century 21 Campbell Realty is owned by Walter and Jeanette Campbell, McDonald’s aunt and uncle, the couple who announced they were donating land for an EDA “workforce housing” project. Royal Examiner broke the story that the gifted land would cost taxpayers a hefty sum. See Related Story:

Workforce housing ‘gift’ is no more – EDA plans purchase instead

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, again through their company, DaBoyz LLC, purchase a home and 102 acres at 2951 Rileyville Road in Page County, Va. for $550,000. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald purchase a house at 5617 Larry Avenue, Virginia Beach, Va. for $339,700.

EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald creates a new LLC called Moveon8 LLC.

The two properties in Warren County and the properties in Page County are transferred from Daboyz LLC to Moveon8 LLC.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald list the Virginia Beach property for sale, asking $359,900. Over the next 5 months, they gradually lower the price. The home would eventually sell at a loss.

The property at 68 Pine Hills Rd, in Front Royal is transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

The properties in Page County, Va. are transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

The property at 5617 Larry Ave. in Virginia Beach, owned by Sheriff Daniel McEathron and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, is sold by Kristina McEathron, Sheriff McEathron’s daughter-in-law, for $320,400, nearly$20,000 less than the DaBoyz, LLC owners purchased it for in 2017.

Now that McEathron has announced he’ll retire on May, 1 of this year, could a real estate career be in his future?  That’s hard to predict, though he and McDonald do appear to have a substantial portfolio of properties betwixt the two.

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Mar 26 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
March 26th & 28th | Stop in any time between 10am-12pm or 3pm-5pm. Each week we create 5 unique projects that you can choose from. Pieces will be fired and ready for pickup in a[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing with Graphite ... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing with Graphite ... @ Art in the Valley
Mar 26 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing with Graphite Pencils @ Art in the Valley
This four week course (Tuesdays 1:30-4:00 p.m.from March 5 through March 26, 2019) with instructor Elena Maza, will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers, the[...]
10:00 am Drawing Basics: Spring 2019 5-We... @ Art in the Valley
Drawing Basics: Spring 2019 5-We... @ Art in the Valley
Mar 27 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Drawing Basics: Spring 2019 5-Week Course @ Art in the Valley
This class is an introduction to drawing. Learn techniques that will help you build a solid foundation in drawing with artist and instructor Michael Budzisz. We’ll focus on improving skills by practicing contour drawings, line[...]