TerriLynn St. John (23) disappeared from the driveway of her Wake, Virginia home on the morning of February 27th, 2018. That morning, TerriLynn was preparing to take her two young children to daycare when she stepped out of her house at 7:30am to put the children’s items in her car. She never went back inside her house. Her parents were later alerted when she did not show up for her job at a horse farm located across the street from her home. TerriLynn’s parents then drove to her home and found her car in the driveway, her front door left open, and her children inside the home alone, but unharmed. Family members also found pieces of broken jewelry near the car and TerriLynn’s phone in the bushes. Her family immediately reported her missing.
After police investigated the scene, they determined that there were signs of a struggle in the driveway. They believed that TerriLynn was likely taken from her home in a separate vehicle. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that police were questioning numerous persons of interest, including TerriLynn’s boyfriend who lived with her. It was determined that the boyfriend was at work at the time of her disappearance, and he was cleared of suspicion.
|TerriLynn and her boyfriend|
On the evening of February 28th, police questioned Alvin B. Keyser (23), an acquaintance of TerriLynn’s. Keyser initially denied any involvement in the case, but then made contact with investigators the following morning to provide more information. It was then that Keyser admitted that he confronted TerriLynn on the morning of her disappearance about “something she had said about him.” He then claimed that TerriLynn voluntarily got into his vehicle, where they continued to argue. Keyser said that TerriLynn hit him, so he hit her back and then pushed her out of the car he was driving. He then admitted that he continued to hit and strangle TerriLynn until she died. Afterwards, he drove her body to a nearby wooded area and hid her. Police found TerriLynn’s body later that day. Keyser was arrested charged with first-degree murder and attempting to conceal or alter a dead body.
|Alvin B. Keyser|
Investigators and TerriLynn’s family did not believe that TerriLynn voluntarily got into Keyser’s vehicle. As previously mentioned, police found evidence of a struggle in the driveway, and it is unlikely that she would leave her children unattended.
In February 2019, Alvin B. Keyser pleaded guilty to the murder of TerriLynn St. John. Keyser ultimately accepted a plea deal that allowed him to plead guilty to second-degree murder - rather than first degree, which would have resulted in a life sentence. Instead, Keyser will serve 40 years on second-degree murder charges and 5 years for the concealment of body charges.
At the sentencing, it was revealed that Keyser told police that he approached TerriLynn on the morning of the murder because he wanted to confront both her and her boyfriend about how they were allegedly “running their mouths on the street” about Keyser’s drug dealing. He admitted to pushing TerriLynn out of the car, and he said she hit her head as she fell onto the side of the road. According to court documents, Keyser then decided to strangle her “because he thought that when she hit her head that he was going to jail for a long time, so he decided he had to kill her.”
Before the plea deal was offered, attorneys reportedly met with TerriLynn’s family members. They gave their blessing to offer Keyser the second-degree murder charge. In September 2019, Keyser was sentenced to 35 years in prison. At his sentencing, he apologized to TerriLynn's family and stated that he wished he could take it all back. Keyser was also ordered to pay $4,868 to cover TerriLynn's burial expenses.