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Authorities continue to investigate homicide

Smith was found dead in her home on July 30

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

BERRYVILLE -- Authorities continue to question people in the slaying of Councilwoman Gail Smith, but still have named no suspects.

Berryville Police Department Chief W. Neal White issued a press release Friday afternoon noting that the investigation has led authorities to the south-central part of the state.

Police found Smith dead in her home in Pickett Court on July 30. Law enforcement agents state in court documents that the victim may have known her killer and even allowed the person into her home prior to the slaying.

On Wednesday and Thursday, "four members of the joint task force, including myself, investigating the homicide of former Berryville Town Council member Gail Smith conducted several interviews regarding the incident," White states in the news release. "The investigative team spoke with several people in the counties of Nottoway, Amelia, Prince Edward and Chesterfield over these two days following up information that has come to light over the course of this investigation."

The team includes Travis Sumption, an investigator with the Clarke County Sheriff's Office, serving as lead agent on the case. Both agencies are working together on the case, but Sheriff Anthony W. "Tony" Roper deferred most questions to White because the police chief had been involved in the recent interviews.

White does not identify any of the people interviewed during the two days. The chief did not return a call for further comment Friday.

But Smith's siblings, Timothy R. Smith Jr. and Deborah Smith, both live in Burkeville, the seat of Nottoway County. Both siblings, in a civil case in Clarke County Circuit Court, had objected to Gail Smith going forward with proceedings to become the legal guardian of their father, Timothy R. Smith Sr. Such a designation would put her in control of their father's $200,000 estate, according to court records.

A message left on voicemail at a number listed as Timothy Smith Jr.'s was not returned Friday evening. No one answered at a phone number listed for Deborah Smith.

Nearly a month has passed since police found Smith's body, and authorities have neither arrested nor named any suspects in the slaying. That doesn't mean authorities have let up on their investigation, the sheriff said.

"We want folks to know out there that, if they have some information, we're still -- I think sometimes people get the impression that if a case goes for a period of time the law enforcement's not working on it and that's simply not the case," Roper said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Berryville Police Department at 955-3863 or the Clarke County Sheriff's Office at 955-1234. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Solvers at 665-TIPS.

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