Prince George
County, VA

Authorities make several arrests in connection with slaying of artist with ties to Fredericksburg

Two adults and a minor have been arrested in connection with last month’s slaying of a 36-year-old artist with ties to Fredericksburg.

Christopher Crowder, 18, of Dinwiddie County, Erick Obando, 24, of Prince George County, and a minor all have been charged with first-degree murder and robbery, Sussex County Sheriff Earnest Giles said. Authorities arrested them last week after receiving several tips, he said.

The suspects did not know the victim, Kenneth H. Moore of Franklin County, a former University of Mary Washington grad student and artist whose paintings had been featured at Fredericksburg’s Art First Gallery.

“It was a random robbery that went bad,” Giles said.

The adults are being held at Sussex County Jail and the minor is in a juvenile detention facility. The investigation is still ongoing, Giles said.

A hunter discovered Moore’s body Jan. 12 in a drainage ditch near a wooded hunting path on State Route 35, about 1.5 miles from the Southampton County line. His throat had been slashed and trash bags covered the man’s head and torso.

Moore had been hitchhiking to Richmond and was last seen the night of Jan. 11 at a gas station in Prince George, Giles said. A relative told authorities that Moore left home with his cellphone and a laptop computer, but those items were not with his body.

A UMW spokeswoman said Moore, a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate, was enrolled in the school's Master of Business Administration program from fall 2011 until spring 2015, but was not a student there at the time of his death.

A local business owner who knew Moore said he lived in the Fredericksburg area for several years before moving last spring.

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Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402