UPDATE: (Sept. 15, 2022, at 10:45 p.m.) – The victim of a murder case in Huntington, Mary Jane Deel’s family says she was a mother first and an overall caring person second.

One of her relatives, who prefers to be anonymous, says “She looked for the good in others. I’m not sure why this happened, what was the purpose of it, or what he got out of it, all we know is that we got the heartbreak of the loss of a family member.”

Other family members say she also touched a lot of people’s hearts in her lifetime.

Peter VanMaasdam III was arrested Wednesday night in connection with Deel’s death. He was seemingly agitated during his arraignment but refused to speak about the incident.

Vanmaasdam allegedly shot Deel in the head with a shotgun, attempted to clean up the evidence, set her body on fire, and concealed it near the railroad tracks near 3rd Street and 7th Avenue.

Deel’s family says learning what happened was difficult to process but knowing an arrest had been made in the case offered some closure.

Even during this tough time, some relatives say they want people to remember the family of the suspect as well.

“We also ask people to pray for his family as well. They’re having to deal with this also. And no one should have to deal with such heartache on either side,” says one of Deel’s relatives.


HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Huntington Police have made an arrest in connection to the case of a woman whose body was found on September 9th.

Peter VanMaasdam III, 31, was arrested Wednesday night in connection to the murder of 46-year-old Mary Jane Deel.

According to the criminal complaint, on September 7th, VanMaasdam allegedly shot Deel in the head with a shotgun inside a home on the 700 block of 4th Street in Huntington. It also says he attempted to clean up evidence of the crime.

He’s also accused of later moving Deel’s body, placing it in a wooded area, and setting it on fire. Deel’s body was later found near railroad tracks on the 300 block of 7th Avenue.

VanMassdam is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a dead body.

Wednesday night, VanMassdam appeared in magistrate court for his arraignment where he seemed clearly “agitated.” However, he refused to comment on the situation without a lawyer present.

If found guilty, VanMaasdam could face life in prison. 

No other details related to the investigation have been released at this time.