Linda Hunter (center) emerges from a meeting with a Kanawha County prosecutor and other family members and friends of her son, Kareem Hunter. Marmet resident Kelsey Marie Legg has been charged with killing Kareem Hunter.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The mother of a missing Charleston man said she's holding out hope that her son will still be found alive -- even though police have charged someone with his murder.Kelsey Marie Legg, 20, of Marmet, on Thursday waived her right to a preliminary hearing on a first-degree murder charge in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.Legg is accused of luring Kareem Howell Hunter, 28, to her apartment on Sept. 23 in an attempt to kidnap Hunter. Legg's brother told Kanawha sheriff's deputies that he heard a disturbance at his sister's apartment, and then saw two men carrying a body to load into the trunk of a car.Hunter's body has not been found, but deputies are investigating his disappearance as a homicide because of large amounts of blood reportedly found inside Legg's apartment. She was arrested Saturday.Hunter's mother, Linda, attended Thursday's hearing with more than 20 of her son's family members and friends.She said she was disappointed that Legg waived the hearing, meaning Legg did not have to attend court Thursday. The case now moves to Kanawha Circuit Court."I just want to ask Kelsey, 'Why?'" Linda Hunter said outside the courthouse. "She holds all the answers."Linda Hunter said her son and Legg were good friends. Her family first met Legg about five years ago and didn't notice any signs of malice."She was just being a teenager -- laughing and joking," Linda Hunter said. "She's eaten dinner with our family and she's gone shopping with our family."
Linda Hunter said the six-hour trip from her hometown in Hampton, Va., to Charleston was the longest of her life. She has been in Charleston since learning that her son was missing, more than 10 days ago.Police searched for Kareem Hunter for about a week before Legg's brother led them to her apartment. Deputies said they discovered a large amount of blood there, which Legg apparently tried to cover up with paint and carpet, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.Legg was spotted buying supplies at Lowe's in Kanawha City with two men in the days following the alleged disturbance at her apartment. Deputies have spoken with one of those men, but do not believe he was involved in the alleged slaying.The unidentified man admitted to helping Legg remodel her apartment. He has not been charged with a crime.Linda Hunter doesn't know why anyone would want to hurt her son. He was easygoing and was a loving father to four children, she said, and was especially close to his 7-year-old daughter.Family members took the little girl to Virginia to get away.
"She told me to go back to Charleston and find him," Linda Hunter said. "I'm going to stay until I know something."Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.