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Rotting corpse found in barrel

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By John Barnhart

    On Saturday, April 30, Bedford County 911 dispatchers received a call from a homeowner on Trapper Lane, off Stewartsville Road in the Stewartsville area of the county, who reported finding a barrel at their residence containing possible human remains.
    Bedford County sheriff’s deputies and investigators responded and determined the remains were human. The caller told the investigators that the barrel belonged to Robert Wozniak, according to Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.
    Wozniak had rented a room from the caller since January, 2016. Prior to moving to Bedford County, Wozniak resided in Roanoke. Investigators processed the scene and believe the remains are several months old. The remains were transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke for identification and to determine possible cause of death.     
    Robert A. Wozniak, 47, was arrested and charged with disposing of a body with malicious intent to avoid detection and four counts of obtaining money by false pretense.  He is being held in the Bedford Adult Detention Center without bond.
    According to Gardner, the body may be the remains of Betty Wozniak, Robert Wozniak’s 93-year-old grandmother.
    “Investigators believe it [the body] possibly could be her,” Gardner said.
    However, Gardner said they will have to wait for the medical examiner to positively identify the remains.

    Gardner said Wozniak and his grandmother had lived together in Roanoke. When Wozniak rented a room in Bedford County in January, he brought the barrel with him. As far as investigators know at this point, Betty Wozniak had never lived in Bedford County.
    “According to the homeowner [who rented to Wozniak], she had rented the room to Robert and not Robert and her,” Gardner said.
    According to Gardner, investigators’ basic theory is that Wozniak had been diverting money, that would belong to his grandmother, for his own purposes.
    This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may be placed.
    At this time, investigators do not suspect any other individuals will be charged.