Police are investigating the deaths of a Powhatan County man and a Cumberland County woman recently killed in a double homicide that started in Cumberland County.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond on Monday positively identified remains recovered in Mecklenburg County last week as Amy Renee Fabian, 43, of Cumberland, and are investigating her death as a homicide, according to the Virginia State Police.
For more than a week before the discovery on Thursday, May 30, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were searching for Fabian and had narrowed down their search to the South Hill and Mecklenburg County area.
Fabian had not been seen since the body of a man later identified as Matthew T. Broyles, 29, of Powhatan, was discovered in her home in the early hours of Friday, May 24.
Fabian’s ex-boyfriend, George W. Knisley IV, 41, of Carroll County, Maryland, is being held in Raleigh, North Carolina for first degree murder in relation to Broyles’ death, according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller. Knisley was arrested later that night after he was involved in a pursuit with Raleigh police. He is awaiting extradition to Virginia, where additional charges are still pending.
Fabian’s body was found with a 2002 Ford F-350 work truck, which had been reported stolen out of Maryland on May 23, in a wooded area off Route 138, less than a mile from Route 1. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office spent the day processing the evidence recovered at the scene.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s offices in Powhatan and Cumberland counties, had been part of coordinated search efforts by air and on the ground to find Fabian since she was discovered missing.
Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges said that Fabian and Knisley were in a relationship when they lived in Maryland, but they broke up a few weeks ago. Fabian took out a protective order against Knisley in Maryland.
“Apparently he did not abide by that. She came down to stay for a little while with her parents to get away from him. She had only been down here about two and a half weeks,” Hodges said.
The incident began at approximately 3:30 a.m. on May 24, when the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about a homicide occurring at a residence in the 200 block of Mount Airy Lane, Geller said in a news release.
Hodges said Knisley allegedly called another person who lives out of state to say what had happened. That person called their local 911 center, which reached out and alerted Cumberland, he said.
Upon arriving at the location, deputies found Broyles, but Fabian was missing, Hodges said. Based on the investigation so far, he does not believe she was killed there.
Hodges described Fabian and Broyles as friends who knew each other through their families and only recently reconnected.
The state police issued a Critically Missing Adult Alert for Fabian later that evening and extended it through May 29, well past the standard 12-hour window, at the request of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
During the course of the investigation into the Cumberland County homicide, the South Hill Police Department received a 911 call at about 6:30 a.m. on May 24 from a woman who was walking out to her car at her residence and encountered a male subject, Geller said. The male, who fit Knisley’s description, threatened the woman at gunpoint and stole her 2013 Honda Civic. The man drove off in the Honda Civic. The woman was not injured.
Police captured Knisley in the early morning of Saturday, May 25 in Wake County after he allegedly carjacked a man in Raleigh of his 2009 Toyota Corolla outside a motel. He led Wake County sheriff’s deputies in a brief pursuit before crashing the car and being apprehended.
While in custody in North Carolina, Knisely attempted to escape, according to a news release from Eric Curry, public information officer for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office. At about 1:45 p.m. on Monday, May 27, Knisley was in the process of being transported to the Wake County Detention Center, to face a fugitive warrant from Carroll County, Maryland. As the deputy was exiting the facility, Knisley complained that the right handcuff was too tight. As the deputy attempted to loosen the cuff, Knisley, pushed the deputy with his shoulder and fled.
An unidentified man assisted the deputy to detain Knisley before additional deputies could arrive. As Knisley was led to the patrol car, it was at that time that he admitted that he was a “murderer and didn’t want to live any longer,” according to the release.
Cumberland County will have to do a full extradition process to bring Knisley back to Virginia, Hodges said. In addition to the charges he faces in Virginia and North Carolina, Knisley is wanted for stealing a vehicle and weapons in Maryland.
“Due to the fact that he committed crimes in three states, it is a little more complicated than just going to another jurisdiction and picking somebody up,” Hodges said.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.