GILBERT — The Georgia couple that was murdered last week after being lured into meeting with who they believed was the Craigslist seller of their dream car, a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang, was not just an ordinary couple.
Elrey “Bud” and June Runion had ties and connections with many folks from Southern West Virginia, as they lived to serve those that were in need with their unselfish charity work.
Nearly 12 years ago the couple made a stop in Gilbert, WV to supply food and back to school supplies for less fortunate families. They were staying in the Mountain Breeze Motel where workers there told the Runions about Denny May’s church and invited them to attend services before they went back out on the road. The Runions took the motel workers up on the offer and went to church services that Sunday. That’s when the couple was introduced to Denny May, the pastor of that small church located on Ben Creek. A bond was instantly formed with May and other members of his church. From that point until the present Runion and a large number of his friends came to the Gilbert area at least twice a year to help the needy and to pay a visit to May’s church. May said that the Runions have been to his home several times for dinner after church then to go out on four wheeler rides. “We just feel in love with them. Bud was one of a kind,” said May.
“He fell in love with our church. Bud said it reminded him of going to church when he was a small child; he loved how the congregation was small and everyone knew each other, unlike the mega church Bud attended in Georgia that had thousands of church members,” said May.
May reminisced about one visit from Mr. Runion in particular where a huge cookout at the Mountaineer Park on Ben Creek was arranged to allow Runion and his friends to give out food, book bags, other school supplies and at least 100 bicycles to children. Bud and June ran a charity they called “Bud’s Bicycles” that provided less fortunate children with brand new bikes. May said that the amount of stuff they gave away that day was mind boggling.
“They just had a feeling for this area, God put it on their heart to help this area and that’s just what Bud did,” stated May.
The couple had been missing from their hometown for several days until their SUV was discovered in a lake a few miles outside of McRae, Ga. The bodies of Bud and June were found that same day where it appeared they were brutally murdered, both being shot in the head. The suspect, 28 year old Ronnie Towns, who posted the Craigslist ad, was arrested by Georgia authorities after Towns turned himself in and is facing charges of murder and robbery.
Cindy Browning is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. To contact Cindy please call 304-664-8225 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.