Hearing set for suspect in abduction

A preliminary hearing has been set for 9:30 a.m., March 22 in Upshur County Magistrate Court for a Rock Cave man who set off an area manhunt after being interviewed about sexual abuse allegations.

Margel F. Tenney, 57, of HC 32, Box 59, is being held in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. He is facing two counts of sexual abuse by a parent or guardian.

According to the complaint filed in Upshur County Magistrate Court, Margel Tenney is alleged to have inappropriately touched a 14-year-old female earlier this month. The alleged victim argued with Margel Tenney, telling him that she did not want to be “his sex toy,” according to the complaint.

The complaint stated that Margel Tenney told the West Virginia State Police on Tuesday that he did not remember the incident, and that he “had already confessed to the Lord and does not have to confess to law enforcement.”

While state troopers were interviewing other family members, Margel Tenney reportedly left the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, drove to his residence in southern Upshur County and left with his 16-year-old stepdaughter Shaina Tenney and her 7-month-old daughter Grace Hope Tenney. The group then allegedly traveled to Webster County to get James Tenney. The group abandoned the 1999 Dodge truck in which they were traveling at a Belington area gas station around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, switching to a 2003 Ford Taurus.

The State Police then issued an Amber Alert for the two girls, and that was extended into Ohio after authorities received a report that the car had been seen traveling into Ohio on Interstate 77 Tuesday night.

The car was spotted by patrolling state troopers along Interstate 79 Wednesday morning in Lewis County, and Margel Tenney was taken into custody shortly afterward. The three passengers were reported to be “OK,” according to the State Police.

Margel Tenney appeared before senior-status Magistrate Frances Davis in Lewis County, who set bond at $100,000. Davis was handling the Lewis County cases while its two magistrates attended a training session.