Fluvanna Review

Local and state law enforcement at the crime scene. Photo by Tricia JohnsonFranklin Lee Burruss, 33, has been charged with first degree murder in the death of his wife, Tayler Lindsey Burruss, 23, of Lake Monticello, according to the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies received a call at 3:56 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 5) and were on scene at Tayler Burruss’s house at 569 Jefferson Drive by 4:02 a.m., when they discovered her body, said Sheriff Eric Hess.
The sheriff’s office quickly identified a person of interest, and around 1:30 p.m. announced the charges against Franklin Burruss.
Declining to speak about Tayler Burruss, one of her family members simply said, “She was loved by everyone.”
Her Facebook page says she and her husband married less than a year ago, on Nov. 14.
Franklin Burruss is being held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail.
The sheriff’s office, the Lake Monticello Police Department, and the Virginia State Police processed the crime scene, blocking off a portion of Jefferson Drive for a large part of the day Saturday.
Authorities have declined to release any further details about the case until a medical examiner finishes the autopsy, a process which Hess said could take “many days.” And if the sheriff’s office does release more details, Hess said, “that will only be if they are things that the prosecution does not think will harm our case. The last thing we want is for the case to be jeopardized in any way, shape, or form.
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Franklin Lee Burruss, 33, of Palmyra was in Fluvanna General District Court Tuesday (Sept. 8) for his first appearance since the murder of his wife, Tayler L. Burruss, on Saturday (Sept. 5).
Burruss, who is charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of his 23-year-old wife, wore an orange jumpsuit and was shackled at the hands.
No attorney was appointed by District Court Judge Edward K. Carpenter and no bail was set during the brief hearing as expected.
Instead, the judge determined that those decisions should be made in Fluvanna Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court at a hearing that was expected to be held Wednesday (Sept. 9) at 9 a.m.
The hearing will be held at the domestic relations court because the crime involved a husband and wife.
About a half-dozen members of the defendant’s family attended the hearing amidst tight security.

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The new name will be Civil War Park. File PhotoThe tiny park in Palmyra that has generated such a large amount of controversy over the past few months now has a new name: Civil War Park.
The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday night (Sept. 2) to adopt that name over Confederate Park, the unofficial – and controversial – name by which the park has often been known.
At the first Board meeting after the June 17 church shooting in which a white gunman shot and killed nine black people, Chairperson Mozell Booker asked her fellow supervisors to consider removing a sign labeling the area Confederate Park and possibly adopting an official name.
Over the summer the county ran a survey so that interested residents could weigh in on what they thought the park should be named. Out of 271 responses, 164 people wanted the name Confederate Park, said County Administrator Steve Nichols. Memorial Park was the only other standout choice with 55 votes.
Supervisors dug into the issue Wednesday night, touching on race relations, black and white experience, and Civil War history with passionate yet respectful dialogue.
“Several months ago when we started discussing this issue I said I’d support what the majority of the people want,” said Supervisor Don Weaver. “And the majority – 61 percent – say they want it to leave it alone. So that’s my position.”
Supervisor Mike Sheridan stated his support for an idea mentioned earlier in the summer of creating a plaque commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation, but said he thought it ought to be located at Pleasant Grove, a former slave plantation, rather than in the tiny Palmyra park, so that “a whole lot more people would see it.”
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Authorities were called to search for a missing boy. Photos by Christina Dimeo GusemanBryan Stephens, 10, who went missing from his Lake Monticello home early Tuesday morning (Sept. 1), is home safe.
Bryan was missing for over 10 hours – from 6:45 a.m. to 4:16 p.m. He was last seen by his mother, who drove alongside him as he walked to the bus stop, but continued to work just before he arrived at the stop.
Bryan never actually made it to the bus stop, said his grandmother, Kim Sprouse. Instead, he turned around and walked home. He spent his morning in the house, Sprouse said, but when his mother, Nichole Stephens, heard from the school that he was absent and texted him to call her, he left.
Sprouse said he spent the rest of the day in the wooded area surrounding an abandoned house less than 100 yards up the street from his home. Though that area had been searched, she said a neighbor decided to check again, then saw something move in the bushes. He found Bryan and brought him home.
Fluvanna County Sheriff Eric Hess declined to comment on specifics because the situation involves a juvenile, but said that a trained canine tracking dog was on its way to the scene when Bryan was found.
When Bryan’s cell phone carrier pinged his phone while he was missing, the tower pinpointed was in Bremo Bluff, almost 20 miles from Bryan’s home. The confusing results threw a curve ball into the search for Bryan, though Hess said the carrier could never verify that the results were accurate.
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The dogs off-leash controversy that has ignited so many passions in Fluvanna County since the Board of Supervisors first took up the issue last December has finally been put to rest – for now.
Supervisors voted Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 2) to specify certain areas in which dogs can run off-leash at Pleasant Grove Park, but did so with the stated desire to revisit the issue in another few months.
The new policy reads, “Dogs must remain on-leash at all times while in county parks, except in designated off-leash areas or at special events during prescribed times.”
Under the new policy, dogs are not allowed at all in horse trailer parking, on playgrounds, or at ball fields except as spectators. If they are in the ball field area they must be on-leash and may never actually go onto the fields.
On the flip side, dogs are always allowed off-leash at the dog park, which Parks and Recreation Director Jason Smith said will double in size this fall. Dogs may also always run off-leash at two dog run fields near the entrance to the park. Dogs may also be off-leash at Sandy Beach at certain times.
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