Missing Maryland Women Deemed 'in Danger' Were Murdered in West. Va. — and 2 Are Charged
Two Maryland women who went missing after having knowledge of an alleged murder have been found dead.
On April 6, the families of Heather Grogg, 33, and 18-year-old Danielle Tyler reported them missing from Carroll County, Maryland. Soon after, state police deemed the women "in danger."
Grogg and Tyler both knew a man named David Sanford, who, along with Monroe Merrell and John Black III, are now behind bars. The three men were charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in West Virginia in connection with the March 18 death of a man named Jonathan T. Riddle in Jefferson County, according to the Baltimore Sun.
At the time, Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty confirmed his office had spoken to Grogg while investigating Riddle's death. Tyler also had information about the alleged murder.
April Braner, 37, of Falling Waters, West Virginia, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the pair's deaths while 22-year-old Jeffrey Smith, Jr., of Westminster, Maryland, is behind bars in Maryland as a fugitive from justice.
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Merrell allegedly arranged to have Grogg and Tyler brought to Braner's house in West Virginia to kill them, according to the complaint. Smith— along with Sanford and Emily Rose Day— allegedly drove them. (Day has been arrested for accessory before and after the fact.)
“Tyler and Grogg were told that they would be safe at this location due to law enforcement investigating the Riddle homicide in Carroll County, Maryland,” the complaint states. However, once there, the pair were killed, which Braner allegedly knew was the plan all along.
Smith is believed to have shot Grogg twice while Braner allegedly provided the plastic bag Sanford allegedly used to kill Tyler.
Grogg was a live-in babysitter for Sanford and Day while Tyler, a high school senior, was dating Merrell.
While they were missing, both women's families spoke out about their fears.
“I am afraid that maybe she saw something, these girls saw something,” Tyler's grandmother, Sherry, told the Sun. “I am scared to death.”
It's unclear whether the women's remains have been found and whether the four suspects in Riddle's case will face additional charges in the women's deaths.
Charges against Smith in Berkeley County have not been released— he was arrested in Maryland, where he is being held. Attorney information for the suspects was not available Thursday.