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Va. woman accused of killing 3 roommates is arrested after high-speed chase

A 23-year-old woman accused of killing three of her roommates, all in their 60s and 70s, in Spotsylvania County, Va., was arrested Thursday after a high-speed chase in Upstate New York, authorities said.

Alyssa J. Venable, who was treated at a hospital after the pursuit ended in a crash, had been sought by investigators in Spotsylvania County since Tuesday night, when three people with whom she shared a residence in the Fredericksburg area were found dead, the county sheriff’s office said.

Although authorities have not disclosed how the roommates were killed, Venable has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. As for a possible motive for the slayings, the statement said the “investigation is ongoing and still in the early stages. … We are withholding certain aspects of the incident.”

The victims were identified as Robert J. McGuire, 77; Gregory S. Powell, 60; and Carol Anne Reese, 65, of the 10500 block of White Street Court near the city of Fredericksburg, about 50 miles south of Washington. After deputies were dispatched to the dwelling for a welfare check about 10 p.m. Tuesday, the statement said, they “made entry into the residence to discover three adults … deceased from upper body trauma.”

Trooper Lynnea Crane, a New York State Police spokeswoman, said Friday that her department “received information from the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office that [Venable] could possibly be in our area,” driving a 2009 Honda Civic. Road troopers were alerted to the Honda’s license plate number and told to be on the lookout for the car, Crane said.

She said a trooper saw the Honda shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 86 in Angelica, N.Y., about 80 miles from Buffalo and 400 miles north of the Virginia crime scene. The ensuing chase went on for roughly 40 miles at speeds reaching 100 mph. It ended in Avoca, N.Y., where the car ran over a strip of tire-puncturing spikes deployed by police and crashed into a guardrail on a highway overpass, Crane said.

Avoca is about 100 miles from the Canadian border. “Why was she up here? At this time, that’s unknown,” Crane said.

After the crash, Venable “complained of pain” and was treated at a hospital, Crane said. She was held overnight in a local jail and appeared Friday morning in a New York court, where she waived her right to contest extradition to Virginia, Crane said. She said Spotsylvania authorities are expected to travel to New York early next week to pick her up. It was unclear Friday whether Venable is represented by a lawyer.

Venable was alone in the Honda, according to Crane, who declined to say whether any weapons were found in the car.

“Our detectives are working very closely with New York State Police for any evidence recovery as this is still in its infancy stages,” Maj. Elizabeth Scott, a Spotsylvania sheriff’s spokeswoman, said in a statement.

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