By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
The homicide investigation into the death of Winchester Star reporter Sarah L. Greenhalgh continued to intensify Thursday as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies pursued leads from her family and friends.
Lt. James Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office said the FBI had entered the case, several search warrants were executed and the investigation expanded to several states.
"We feel we're making progress. It's moving along at a fast pace," Hartman said of the investigation.
Hartman said no suspects have been designated yet, but "persons of interest" continue to be investigated.
Hartman said a Facebook posting by Greenhalgh Sunday night -- the last time she was seen alive -- had drawn investigators' attention soon after her body was discovered Monday morning during a fire that gutted the interior of her Upperville home.
The Facebook posting led investigators to execute a search warrant for an apartment in Gainesville, one of several search warrants obtained in recent days, Hartman said.
The warrant, accompanied by an inventory and return list in Prince William County Circuit Court in Manassas, was filed by Detective Michael Zeets and executed by Michael L. Jones of the Virginia State Police for a residence at 7500 Equinox Landing Court, Apartment 301.
It lists a white T-shirt, Blackberry cell phone and shredder waste as the items recovered during the search. The warrant lists trace evidence of accelerants, DNA evidence, fibers, hair, blood, skin cells, body fluids, digital media, computers, cell phones and firearms as items sought in the apartment.
The affidavit for the search warrant is sealed.
Hartman said investigators located the occupant of the apartment, "spoke with that person whom she was referencing and they were very cooperative."
The Winchester Star reported the Facebook posting contained the following comments by Greenhalgh:
"Going to be sleeping with the windows wide open . . .:-)
Now if batsh-- crazy boy would just leave me alone . . . will get some much needed rest because tomorrow is Monday, and I got a ton of work to do!"
Hartman said his agency asked for FBI assistance because "we don't have the infrastructure to have that expertise available to us on a regular basis for a case of this magnitude."
He said important information has poured in from Greenhalgh's friends and family. The Facebook posting "is not the only aspect of this case," he added.
Greenhalgh lived by herself in a rented home surrounded on Dunvegan Drive, a private road just off U.S. 50 in Upperville.
An off duty firefighter passing by on the highway noticed smoke coming from Greenhalgh's home around 8 a.m. Monday. Firefighters called to the scene found Greenhalgh's body in a bedroom and summoned the Sheriff's Office investigators, who classified her death as a homicide within a few hours.