hunters road

Hunters Rd.

Son of Rapp resident held on child cruelty, weapons charges

Sheriff previously warned by neighbors of gunfire at the home 

On Wednesday, July 24, the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office received a report from Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton about a person being shot in the 200 block of Hunters Road in the Tiger Valley section of Washington.

“The individual had been driven to the Fauquier Hospital and was being treated with non-life threatening injuries,” Sheriff Connie Compton said. She added that sheriff’s Investigator Jim Jones responded to the hospital. 

Once at the hospital, it was learned that a young girl was shot — the granddaughter of one of the residents at the Tiger Valley home. The girl was later transferred to the University of Virginia Medical Center for treatment of a broken tibia.

The RCSO and Virginia State Troopers responded in force to the residence and arrested Thighe J. Kavanagh, 53, and Sherry Lee Dytrych, 58, Kavanagh’s common law wife and the grandmother of the wounded girl and another child. All were residing of late at the Tiger Valley home. 

Thighe, a convicted felon in New York, Florida, and South Carolina — who was released from jail earlier this year — has a 30-year record of criminal behavior, including numerous charges involving theft and drug and alcohol offenses.

Kavanagh and Dytrych are being held without bond at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail in Front Royal. Each appeared before the Rappahannock juvenile court yesterday — he by videoconference, she in person — to determine the need for court-appointed representation, both of which were approved.

Kavanagh has been charged with felony counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling, reckless handling of a firearm with injury, and causing or permitting a child to be injured. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and being drunk in public, both misdemeanors.

Dytrych has been charged with obstruction of justice by making a false statement to police and permitting injuries to children, according to the RSW.

Rappahannock Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff told the News yesterday that “we’re weighing our options” on bringing additional charges against Kavanagh.

Move to Rappahannock

Tiger Valley neighbors report that both suspects lived with Thighe’s father, Edmund Kavanagh, a retired jeweler in Little Washington, and that they moved to the home about two months ago after leaving South Carolina, where Thighe had been incarcerated. 

Information contained in a Petition for Appointment of Conservator and Guardian filed with the Circuit Court on July 15 by Nikki Marshall, Edmund Kavanagh’s attorney, states: On July 18 Judge Jeffrey W. Parker ordered that a guardian ad litem be appointed to “represent, protect, and defend the interest of Mr. Kavanagh” in connection with the appointment of a conservator. A conservator is appointed by a court to protect the interests of someone unable to care for themselves either by physical or mental disability.

Marshall has been Kavanagh’s attorney since March 2017. She did not return the Rappahannock News’ requests for comment.

In the petition, Marshall states that Edmund Kavanagh’s doctor noted during a medical examination that “Mr. Kavanagh was suffering with ‘moderate dementia,’ type ‘Alzheimer’s.’”

In August 2018, Edmund was moved to an assisted living facility in Warrenton, where he resided until April 26 of this year. During this time, Thighe was released from incarceration in South Carolina. Edmund requested to be moved back home.

“On April 27, 2019, Mr. Kavanagh left [the assisted living facility] and moved back into his home,” states the petition. “Thighe Kavanagh moved in with his father on the same day.”

Drained bank accounts

Although Edmund’s expenses are handled through The Fauquier Bank, Thighe was able to withdraw $12,400 cash from his father’s checking and money market account at Atlantic Union Bank (formerly Union Market Bank) and charge over $14,500 on Edmund’s Discover credit card.

“One June 10, 2019, with full information regarding Mr. Kavanagh’s dementia diagnosis,” reads the petition, “Thighe Kavanagh took his father to Frank Reynolds, an attorney in Washington, Virginia, to execute a new power of attorney appointing Thighe Kavanagh as Mr. Kavanagh’s agent and revoking the prior power of attorney appointing Natahsa Curry agent.” (Curry, a long-time friend and colleague of Edmund, owns a jewelry store in Warrenton). “Thighe Kavanagh did not reveal Mr. Kavanagh’s dementia diagnosis to Mr. Reynolds.”

Reynolds, approached outside his Washington office on Tuesday, declined to comment and would neither confirm nor deny his developing a power of attorney naming Thighe. Instead Reynolds referred the News to Nikki Marshall’s petition.

With the new power of attorney in hand, Thighe withdrew $1,800 from his father’s Fauquier Bank account and demanded a transaction report of Edmund’s accounts.

Obtaining the firearm

It is not known how Thighe acquired the firearm used on July 24. 

According to the petition, Thighe in May asked Marshall to return Edmund’s firearm with ammunition. But because of Thighe’s felony record, Marshall “did not turn over the firearm to Mr. Kavanagh or Thighe Kavanagh.”

Neighbors, who wish to remain unidentified, said that they had reported to the sheriff that they had heard gunshots from Kavanagh’s house on several occasions prior to the July 24 incident. 

A close friend of Edmund’s said he called the sheriff to notify her about Thighe’s being in the county and was told, “I’ll take care of it.”

Marshall, in her petition, says that she also contacted the RCSO when Thighe asked for the return of his father’s firearm.

Shortly after learning of the July 24 incident, this newspaper asked Sheriff Compton in a phone call why she hadn’t been concerned about Thighe Kavanagh. She replied that up until July 24 he hadn’t done anything she could arrest him for. 

“We have lots of convicted felons living here, but they haven’t done anything,” Compton said.

It is also not known exactly when Dytrych moved into the Tiger Valley residence with her two grandchildren.

Thighe was arraigned in District Court this week on the felony charges. He is due back in court on August 13 for the misdemeanor charges. Dytrych, arraigned July 26, is due back in court on September 3. The conservator hearing is scheduled for Circuit Court on August 15. 

The child cruelty charges are being handled in Juvenile Court.

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