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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

West Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty To Obstructing A Federal Kidnapping/Death Investigation

Orlando, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Belenda Sandy (56, Buckhannon, West Virginia) has pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

 

Sandy was indicted on March 8, 2017.

 

According to the plea agreement, Sandy obstructed justice and hindered a federal kidnapping/death investigation by making false statements and omitting material information during interviews with investigators. The investigation began on November 27, 2016, after a victim went missing in Ormond Beach, Florida. Investigators eventually determined that the victim had recently relocated to Florida from Indiana to get away from her estranged husband, Jarvis Wayne Madison, who was also in an intimate relationship with Sandy. In the days leading up to the victim’s disappearance, Madison stayed with Sandy at her West Virginia residence, where she provided him with food, money, and new tires for his vehicle. Eventually, Madison left Sandy’s residence and drove to Florida, where he located the victim as she was jogging on Ormond Beach. Phone records reflected that Madison had a 23-mintue phone conversation with Sandy, just before the victim disappeared.

 

On November 28, 2016, an investigator contacted Sandy by telephone and interviewed her to determine Madison’s whereabouts. During this interview, Sandy denied having any recent contact with Madison. This statement was false and misleading. Even after the investigator informed Sandy that the victim had likely been abducted by Madison, she continued to claim that she had not seen Madison in a long time. Following the interview, Sandy met with Madison at a gas station near her home and told him that law enforcement was looking for him in connection with the victim’s disappearance. Sandy’s misleading conduct towards the investigator ultimately delayed Madison’s arrest on federal kidnapping charges, and delayed the recovery of the victim’s body.

 

After learning from Sandy that law enforcement was looking for him, Madison drove to Tennessee, where he buried the victim’s dead body. He then drove to Kentucky, where law enforcement arrested him on December 2, 2016. On the same date, FBI agents recovered the victim’s body in Tennessee and determined that Madison had shot and killed her sometime after her disappearance on November 27, 2016.

 

Madison is currently charged in a superseding indictment with kidnapping that resulted in a death, interstate domestic violence, and interstate stalking. An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty. A trial date for Madison is currently set for the March 2018 trial term.

 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshals Service, and the Indiana State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. Searle.

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Updated May 31, 2017