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Woman killed in West Virginia

A former Orleans County woman was murdered then beheaded in West Virginia last week by her boyfriend, who took his own life as authorities closed in on him, authorities said.

News of the death of Carol Ann Rhim, 53, formerly of Medina, spread through Western New York on Saturday, just days after Rhim's head and hands were found in the trunk of her boyfriend's vehicle.

Authorities in West Virginia said Rhim's boyfriend, Nathaniel Lawton, 54, shot himself in the head Thursday night, as sheriff's deputies were executing a search warrant at the couple's apartment in Institute, located about 10 miles northwest of Charleston.

Investigators -- tipped off that Lawton had bought a hacksaw and tarp from an auto parts store -- believe he killed Rhim on Tuesday, then used the saw to cut off her head and hands in the bathroom to help hide her identity if her body were found, according to the Charleston Gazette.

The newspaper also reported that Lawton was spotted earlier in the week more than an hour and a half away in Ohio, where investigators were searching for Rhim's body along a highway.

The Buffalo News on Saturday attempted to reach Rhim's local family members, but calls were not returned.

Rhim's daughter, Kiara, told the Charleston newspaper that her mother raised four children in Medina, where she was a teacher's aide prior to working in a factory.

Rhim moved to West Virginia about five years ago to be closer to a brother in Charleston, according to the report. That's where she met Lawton, who moved in with Rhim about two years ago.

The couple was reportedly engaged, but there was trouble in the relationship. Rhim told family that Lawton had pulled a gun and threatened to kill her if she ever left him.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com