Judith Lynn Petty, 48 of Parkersburg, formerly of Waverly, went to meet her maker on February 7, 2008. She was born January 31, 1960, the daughter of Marvin and Joan Wilson Petty. She was a 1978 graduate of Williamstown Christian High School, also having attended Waverly Elementary and Williamstown High School. She was a member of the Church of Christ and found employment with RGIS Inventory in Parkersburg, Huntington and Charleston: Bell Atlantic in Parkersburg; Lee Middleton Dolls and Coldwater Creek. In recent years she had been the primary caregiver for her maternal grandmother, Elaine Wilson.
In addition to her parents and grandmother, Judith is survived by four sisters; Cindy (David) Snider of Whitehall, Ohio; Wanda Petty of Parkersburg; Cheryl (James) Ullom of Waverly, WV; Kelly (Bob) Poiani Bob of Cocoa Beach, FL. She is also survived by nieces and nephews; Michelle (Matthew); Jason (Angela) Snider; Rebecca Kirby, Christa Snider and fiancee Walter Mason; Nathanial and Brandon Ullom; James Mace and Tyler Mace. Also surviving her are great nieces and nephews; Kylie and Cassidy Moore; Graham and Lauren Snider and several uncles, aunts and cousins in WV, OK and TX.
She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Rex and Murhl Petty, her maternal grandfather, Dode Wilson, and one nephew, Christopher Ullom.
Judith, also know too many as "Aunt Judy" was a caring individual who was willing to help family and neighbors whenever there was a need. She enjoyed a special relationship with nieces and nephews, often helping with their care and upbringing. She will be deeply missed and cherished in our memories.
A Memorial Service is planned at the North End Church of Christ on Saturday at 1:00 PM with Doug Petty and Steven Haguewood officiating. The family will be at the church two hours prior to the service to greet family and friends.
Memorial donations may be made to the Mid Western Children's Home, P.O. Box 48, Pleasant Plain, Ohio 45162-9987.
Parkersburg News & Sentinel, Jan. 2, 2011:
PARKERSBURG - Almost three years later the family of a woman whose remains were found in the burned-out ruins of an unoccupied farm are pleading for information surrounding her death.
Reported missing three days earlier, 48-year-old Judith Petty's remains were found Feb. 10, 2008, in a burned-out building of an unoccupied Waverly farm owned by her father, Marvin Petty.
"Since Judy's death we haven't had any answers, so, now we are coming to the public and hoping someone knows something," said Kelly Poiani, sister of Judith Petty.
The Petty family, which includes the victim's parents and four sisters, believe the original investigation of the fire and Judith Petty's disappearance was not performed properly.
"We begged them to rope off the area as a crime scene and it wasn't and we don't think the case was investigated properly until a little while ago," Poiani added.
The Petty family said they asked investigators to treat their loved one's disappearance and death as a homicide from day one.
"We asked them to take photos and to look for evidence, even before her body was found," Poiani said. "They wouldn't do it and because of that we have a lot of anger and frustrations."
In 2009, Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy was elected to office and picked up the cold case file on Judith Petty's death and considered it a homicide.
"It was the definition of a cold case," Sandy said. "There was and still is very little information available to us."
Poiani said that she and her family are grateful for the work the sheriff's department is now doing, but the family wants answers that the officers do not have.
"We, at the Wood County Sheriff's Office, are following every lead, but there isn't much," Sandy said. "We are hoping the family's plea brings more information to us."
Sandy said there was very little of Judith Petty's remains left for investigators to work with and the cause of death has yet to be determined, which is part of the reason it took so long to rule her death a homicide.
The investigation was also hampered when it was discovered the state medical examiner's office mistakenly released some of Petty's remains to the family of two Jackson County children who perished in a house fire.
"There was something found that was tested and allowed us to determine that she was dead before the fire started," Sandy said. "Without that, we wouldn't have enough to say that the incident is a homicide."
On February 6, 2008, Judith Petty was last seen walking from her north Parkersburg home to return books to the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library.
"Judy gave up her life to take care of her grandmother and she was always there for anyone who needed help and her death has ruined the family," said Bob Poiani, Kelly Poiani's husband and brother-in-law to the victim.
"The one day she did something for herself and took a walk was the day this happened," Kelly Poiani said. "It's just something that we can't move away from without answers."
Sandy said he hopes someone from the community does speak out and give the Petty family some closure.
"I have met with this family twice since taking up the case and this has just devastated them," Sandy said. "I want to give them some answers so they can have closure and move on."
Kelly Poiani said getting information about her sister's death will not only help her family, but other families who have had similar losses.
"If we don't get the bad guys off the streets, other families will suffer like we have and I don't want that - we don't want anyone else to feel the way we have," she said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Wood County Sheriff's Office at 304-424-1834.
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