Bennett K. “Ben” Hatfield, an engineer and longtime coal company executive who worked for Massey Energy and Arch Coal, was found dead from a gunshot wound in a Mingo County cemetery Monday, according to Mingo Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Maynard.
Maynard said Hatfield’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
Mingo Sheriff James Smith told MetroNews that Hatfield’s body was found at about 6:30 a.m. Monday over a hill at Mountain View Memory Gardens, in Maher, outside Williamson.
Hatfield’s wife, Debbie, who died in 2009, is buried at that cemetery, according to her obituary. The couple had been married 25 years when she lost her battle with breast cancer.
Hatfield was CEO of International Coal Group in 2006, when that company’s Sago Mine, in Upshur County, blew up, killing 12 miners.
Later, he was chief executive officer of Patriot Coal, amid that company’s first of two Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings.
Last year, he joined the board of directors of St. Louis-based Foresight Energy, which has operations in the Illinois basin and was founded by West Virginia native and billionaire coal operator Chris Cline.
His twin brother, Dennis Hatfield, also is a longtime official with various coal operations, including Massey.
The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating, with assistance from the West Virginia State Police. Smith did not return calls for comment.