Surry homicide suspect due in court

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A Surry County man is due in court in April for a preliminary hearing on second-degree murder charges.

Benjamin Franklin Chiarky, 31, of Spring Grove, is accused in the death of 20-year-old Corrine Lee Huddleston. She was reported missing in October, and her remains were found in northeastern Surry County on Nov. 12. Chiarky was arrested that day in Prince George County.

He also faces a felony charge of conspiracy to sell or distribute a schedule IV drug.

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Police have declined to say what led them to where the remains were found, citing the ongoing investigation. Huddleston was last seen on Oct. 9, according to the Petersburg-based Progress-Index newspaper. At that time, police said she could be in danger but “the exact nature of the danger was not disclosed,” the newspaper said.

“We’re still actively investigating it and we’re not to the point where we have come to a conclusion — especially from a legal perspective — on if anyone else is legally responsible in that death,” said Maj. Eric Young of the Prince George County Police Department. “That’s still under investigation. It would be premature to give you a definite yes or no on that at this point.”

Young said investigators are “running down anything and everything” that might be pertinent to the case.

Surry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Derek Davis shared that sentiment, describing the case as “a continually developing one with a lot of moving parts.” Davis said Surry is working closely with Prince George officials, since the case began as a missing person report in that community.

Prince George County Commonwealth’s Attorney Susan Fierro confirmed Surry is handling the murder prosecution.

“We obviously are still looking for anybody that has information or tips from the public that would benefit us,” said Young. “Our guys are still actively investigating this case and we want to make sure we do everything within our power, do our due diligence to make sure that anybody that’s responsible for anything involving [Huddleston’s] death faces the consequences,” Young said.

Huddleston died just weeks before her 21st birthday, according to an obituary published by the family.

“I promise that you will not be forgotten,” one of Huddleston’s family members wrote in an online tribute. “I’m so thankful for you being in my life and for all the great memories you have given me and the rest of the people who were a part of your life.”

Chiarky is represented by Richmond-based attorney Bill Linka, who declined to comment when reached by email.

Online records show Chiarky is in the Riverside Regional Jail with no bond. He is scheduled to appear in Surry County General District Court at 1 p.m. April 26.

Anyone with information about this case may contact the Prince George Police Department at 804-733-2773 or Crime Solvers at 804-733-2777. Submit anonymous tips by text message by adding 274637 (CRIMES) to your phone’s contact list, then texting “igotcha” along with your message or information.