Suspect named in 2012 murder of Sarah Greenhalgh

The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office has named a suspect in the 2012 murder of Winchester Star reporter Sarah Greenhalgh.

Fingerprints from John Sheldon Kearns â?? Greenhalgh’s former boyfriend â?? were obtained on Dec. 8, according to an affidavit filed in the Circuit Court Dec. 11.

Kearns, 51, and Greenhalgh were â??engaged in a heated argumentâ? just hours before she was shot and her house subsequently set on fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Greenhalgh died after being shot in the neck, according to the medical examiner.

Greenhalgh’s last post on Facebook before her death, mentioned a “bats— crazy boy” who would not leave her alone, which led police to search Kearns’ Gainesville apartment.

According to the Dec. 8 affidavit, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science wanted fingerprints from the tips of Kearns’ fingers to compare to those found at the crime scene.

In August 2013, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said they had a suspect in the murder, but were unable to specify who. No charges have been filed against Kearns.

On July 9, 2012, firefighters discovered Greenhalgh, 48, dead of a gunshot wound in her rental home on Dunvegan Drive in Upperville. The home was on fire, which investigators say was deliberately set. The sheriff’s office has investigated Greenhalgh’s death as a homicide.

The Fauquier County Circuit Court unsealed portions of some search warrants connected to the investigation of Greenhalgh’s death in 2013. They revealed where authorities looked – but not what they found. According to the documents, Kearns was the subject of at least two search warrants.

The investigation into Greenhalgh’s killing is an active investigation and is the agency’s top priority. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the office’s criminal investigations division at (540) 422-8650 or Fauquier County CRIME SOLVERS at 540-349-1000. A caller can remain anonymous.