http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/local-news/2012/jun/12/tdmain01-person-of-interest-accused-of-threats-ar-1980924/Person of interest in missing woman case accused of threatening wife
By: Mark Bowes | Richmond Times-Dispatch , Reed Williams | Times-Dispatch
Published: June 12, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. --A man police have identified as the primary person of interest in the disappearance of Altria research director Leyla Namiranian has threatened to kill his estranged wife and told her he would take her to King William County where no one could find her, according to a court document released Monday.
The person of interest, Michael Anthony Edwards, 51, also told his wife, Catherine Brown Edwards, that he would burn up her home with her inside it, according to an affidavit she wrote Feb. 2 to obtain a protective order against him.
In the affidavit, filed in Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Catherine Edwards wrote that she was verbally abused every day and that in February her husband threatened to kill her for no reason.
"He always say he is going to kill me, and if I ever put him out he will burn my house up with me in it because he is not the same Michael," she wrote in the affidavit.
"I am tired of being fearful for my life because he is getting high," she wrote. "And he always tell me he will take me to King William where no one can find me. It is always he is going to kill me. And now it's time for me to stand up for myself. He is very violent and I am tired of being tired and threating. Please help me."
Court documents show Catherine Edwards had a preliminary protective order issued against Michael Edwards and that it was in effect from Feb. 2 through Feb. 15. On Feb. 15, a judge denied a request for a family abuse preliminary protective order.
Edwards, a laborer who lives in Richmond and works in Hanover County, is one of two men whom authorities have identified as a person of interest in the Namiranian case. Neither man has been charged.
Edwards could not be reached for comment Monday, but last week he firmly denied any involvement in the disappearance and said he has cooperated with police. He said he and Namiranian were friends but that he could not recall where they met.
In an interview Friday, Catherine Edwards said her husband is not violent. She said she had sought the protective order after he made a threatening statement that he later said he did not make. She said they have lived separately since late January or early February.
The clerk of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court agreed Monday to release Catherine Edwards' affidavit to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Also Monday, in a brief interview, Catherine Edwards said she no longer wants to comment on the case. "I'm finished with this stuff," she said.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield County police continue to investigate the April 4 disappearance of Namiranian, 41, who lives in the Roxshire subdivision in the Midlothian area.
Authorities did not wish to comment Monday on the affidavit, but they said King William does not figure into their investigation — at least at this point.
"We don't have any evidence that leads us to believe that anything has happened in King William," said Chesterfield police Capt. David Pritchard.
King William Sheriff Jeff Walton said Chesterfield police have not contacted his office about the Namiranian case.
Authorities said last week that Edwards told police that he had been dating Namiranian around the time she disappeared. Authorities have searched his car and his home at the Fern Tree Apartments in the 3800 block of Chamberlayne Avenue in North Richmond. The search warrants are sealed and unavailable for viewing.
Authorities said they found no sign of a struggle at Michael Edwards' home or at Namiranian's house. But according to a police affidavit filed in Richmond Circuit Court, evidence suggests that she did not leave her home voluntarily. One of her cellphones was found damaged in a roadway, and the other was recovered from the side of a road.
Authorities also have identified a former Altria executive as a secondary person of interest. That man, Peter Paoli, 54, contacted police after Namiranian disappeared and told them he had visited her home for dinner on April 4 — the last day she was seen or heard from — and stayed there from about 9 until 11 p.m.
Police have expressed frustration with what they describe as a lack of cooperation by Paoli, an allegation that has been sharply disputed by Paoli's attorney.
Authorities said they obtained a saliva sample from Paoli, which was taken to compare his DNA against DNA from a "stain" found at Namiranian's home.
Authorities also have taken a sample of Edwards' DNA, but police said the search warrant is sealed.