Human remains found near Drewryville identified

Published 6:35 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office started a murder investigation after responding to the discovery of human remains in Emporia in June, and the remains have now been identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

A Tuesday, Sept. 20, sheriff’s office news release stated that the remains belong to Karen Louise Ryan, 65, of Mechanicsville. 

Ryan was entered into a law enforcement database as a missing person earlier this year by the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. 

A June 21 Southampton County Sheriff’s Office news release stated that at approximately 10:06 a.m. that day, deputies responded to the 24000 block of Adams Grove Road in Emporia in reference to human remains being discovered by a property owner. 

Due to the nature of how the human remains were found, a homicide investigation was initiated, police stated. 

The Sept. 20 release noted that the sheriff’s office will continue investigating this homicide and is working closely with investigators from Hanover County.  

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective B. Grizzard at 757-653-2100, or they can report anonymously to the Franklin/Southampton Crime Solvers at 757-516-7100 or on

An obituary published on stated that Ryan was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She lived for a time in Middletown, Pennsylvania, before later moving to Virginia.

“Karen retired from Hanover County after 27 years of service, a graduate of Penn State Harrisburg and Middletown Area High School,” the obituary stated. “She enjoyed many things in life, but her greatest joy was the love she shared for her family and animals.”