Brooke homicide probe continues

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate the death of a Colliers man, while a Weirton man named a person of interest awaits his day in court.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson confirmed Thursday no new charges have been filed against Bruce David Reinhardt, 22, of Weirton in connection with the death of Patrick Thomas, 56, who was found dead in his Tent Church Road home.

He said he couldn’t say whether they will be filed against Reinhardt in the future.

Reinhardt was arrested Wednesday for a probation violation at a New Cumberland home with the help of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. He is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond set by Brooke County Magistrate Robin Snyder on Thursday.

Jackson said he wants to interview Reinhardt because he lived with Thomas for a time and there was evidence he had been at Thomas’ home within the last few months.

He said Reinhardt was found Wednesday at a home on Holbert’s Run Road and refused to come out, leading the Hancock County’s Sheriff’s Department to deploy its special response team.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said chemical agents and pyrotechnics were used to ensure Reinhardt was apprehended safely.

Jackson said officers learned later Reinhardt wasn’t armed.

At an arraignment conducted Thursday through a video link with the Northern Regional Jail, Reinhardt asked for an attorney to be appointed for him. A date hasn’t been set for his preliminary hearing in magistrate court.

Jackson declined to comment on how Thomas was killed. He would say on April 22 deputies found him dead at his home, the victim of “an obvious homicide,” after they were asked to check on his welfare.

The sheriff said some time had elapsed between his death and the discovery of his body and it appeared someone attempted to conceal the body within the house.

Thomas’ body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Asked why he didn’t release information about the body’s discovery earlier, Jackson said not disclosing it eased the investigation.

“It was easier to be able to talk to people without their knowing we found the body,” he said.

Jackson said eight to 10 people have been interviewed through the investigation and other interviews are expected.

He encouraged anyone with information about Thomas’ death to call the sheriff’s office at (304) 737-3660 or (304) 527-1430.