Mother of murdered child faces heroin charges

Tiffany Mays
David Butts

WOODSTOCK – The biological mother of a murdered child has been charged with two counts related to heroin distribution in Shenandoah County after a traffic stop drug bust.

Officials with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that Tiffany Lynn Mays, 21, of Berryville, was one of four people arrested as a result of the traffic stop on Lord Fairfax Highway and a subsequent search warrant executed at her home.

Mays is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail after an appearance in Shenandoah County General District Court on Thursday.

Mays is the mother of Talon Vermillion, a 20-month-old boy whose death in June 2013 was the subject of a recently completed case in which Nicole Dawn Miller, 27, of Woodstock, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the boy’s murder.

Miller said during the proceedings that she and her former fiancée, Jeremy Vermillion, were caring for Talon, his son, as a result of Mays failing several court-ordered drug screenings.

Mays testified at Miller’s sentencing last week in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

“I have dreaded this court date because I don’t know if I can ever have closure if there is such a thing,” Mays said.

Mays was one of four people arrested in a drug bust that was triggered by information received from a Shenandoah County law enforcement official working with the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force. The agent, working from information obtained by a confidential informant, told the Sheriff’s Office that Mays and the other defendants would be traveling to Baltimore on Tuesday to obtain heroin for resale in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

“My understanding is that information led us to conduct a traffic stop on Lord Fairfax Highway,” Clarke County Sheriff Anthony “Tony” Roper said.

Members of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office intercepted two suspects in the vehicle, both of whom were found with drugs on them, Roper said.

The suspects in the vehicle and the other two suspects were arrested after police executed a search warrant at Mays’ Berryville residence.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office identified the other defendants as: David H. Butts, 25, of Berryville; and Jane H. Ruby, 31, and David K. Ruby, 36, both of the 1800 block of Salem Church Road in Stephens City.

Jane and David Ruby are both charged with possession of heroin in Clarke County.

Mays and Butts, who share the same Berryville address, are each charged in Shenandoah County with distribution of heroin and conspiracy to distribute heroin.

A criminal complaint accompanying the Shenandoah County charges states that a confidential police informant paid Mays and Butts $250 for a substance that later tested positive for heroin. The transaction was conducted Sept. 17 in the McDonald’s parking lot at 338990 Old Valley Pike in Strasburg, the criminal complaint states.

Roper said a total of 10 people were arrested Tuesday in Berryville on drug charges. A drug bust involving the arrest of six people earlier in the day was unrelated to the one that led to the arrest of Mays, Butts and Jane and David Ruby, Roper said.

One person has died from a heroin overdose in Clarke County so far this year.

“This heroin thing has just been a catastrophe for us,” Roper said. “Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that often that we get that many arrests in the same day.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or

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