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Police searching for person of interest in double homicide

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John Wesley Jeffries

By ROBYN SIDERSKY/The Free Lance-Star

The Fredericksburg Police Department and the Fauquier County Sheriff’s office are searching for John Wesley Jeffries, a Fredericksburg man who is a person of interest in a double homicide that occurred near The Plains in northern Fauquier County Sunday.

Jeffries is considered to be armed and dangerous and anyone who comes in contact with him should call 911 immediately.

Jeffries is listed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry as a violent offender. The registry’s description of him is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 194 lbs., blue eyes and grey or partially grey hair.

The victims were Nelson Slack, 80, and Ethel Slack, 74, a couple living near The Plains. Fredericksburg Police officers found a vehicle belonging to them was located in the 1700 block of Lafayette Boulevard around 4 p.m. Sunday, said police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe.

When the couple did not appear in church Sunday morning, friends and acquaintances asked that the sheriff’s office check on the couple at their home around 11 a.m., said Lt. James Hartman, spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s office.

He said that deputies found the couple’s house locked and the car was gone and it appeared that they had left and everything was normal.

But the sheriff’s office sent a notice to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the couple’s car, a red Ford Focus.

At 1:15 p.m., upon further investigation of the couple’s house, on the 7200 block off Bunker Hill Road, sheriff’s deputies forced entry into the house through a window and discovered the bodies of the couple, Hartman said.

Hartman said they are not sure if Jeffries knew the victims, but said that he had ties to the neighborhood and the Slacks lived there for “many many many years.”

He said that there did not appear to be forced entry into the couple’s home.

He said the bodies have not been removed from the house yet. He said that the scene is still under investigation and could not give a cause of death, but he said “there does appear to be trauma to the upper body of both victims.”

Jeffries’ last known address was in Fredericksburg.

City police have already been searching for Jeffries for several days for warrants pending in Spotsylvania County. The charges include malicious wounding and felony strangulation for an incident that occurred in Spotsylvania.

The crimes Jeffries committed in Spotsylvania took place in the last two weeks, Hartman said.

He was also convicted of several crimes in Loudon County in 1986, including rape, forcible sodomy, abduction for immoral purposes and object sexual penetration.