Police: Traveling carnival worker confesses to killing 2 women, teenager

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. -- A traveling carnival worker has confessed to killing two women and a teenage girl within an 18 day period, according to authorities in Virginia.

Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said in a press conference that the 23-year-old suspect, James Michael Wright of Mendota, Virginia, met each of the three victims through the carnival, which travels up and down the East Coast, according to WJHL.

Newman said that all of the murders occurred in Washington County, Virginia.

Wright has been charged with three counts of capital murder in the killings of 22-year-old Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter of Carter County, Tennessee, 17-year-old Joslyn Alsup of Georgia and 25-year-old Athina Hopson of Johnson City.

According to Sheriff Newman, investigators with the Johnson City Police Department in Tennessee contacted the Washington County Sheriff's Office to assist in setting up an interview with Wright, who they had identified as a suspect Hopson's disappearance.

A search warrant for Wright's truck was issued and authorities found Hopson's cell phone, Newman said.

While being interviewed by detectives, Newman said Wright confessed to killing Hopson on March 17, and two other females before that.

Wright allegedly told police that he shot and killed Vanmeter on February 28 as a result of an argument.

The Sheriff also said Wright admitted to shooting and killing Alsup, whose father worked at the carnival, on March 9.

Investigators conducted a search of the property surrounding Wright's home and found the remains of two people, but have not located Hopson's body, Newman said.

Officials said the murders could classify him as a serial killer and he could face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is planning to work with police in other parts of the country where the carnival traveled to see if there could be more victims.


ABC News contributed to this article
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