Cops and Courts

Body found Monday identified as beloved member of Morgantown music scene

MORGANTOWN –  A free spirit, a beautiful soul, an absolute legend.  These are just a few of the ways those who knew Candice McLaughlin described the 48-year-old Morgantown woman whose body was discovered in Deckers Creek Monday afternoon.

McLaughlin was a mother to three children and was lovingly known by many as “Booyah” or “Capt. Booyah.”  She was a familiar face on the Morgantown live music scene and a beloved former employee of 123 Pleasant St. music venue.

“If you were involved at all in the music scene here, you knew Candice,” said Emma Cochran, a close friend of McLaughlin.  “And 100 out of 100 times, you had love for her.”

123 Pleasant St. posted a statement on social media about the loss of McLaughlin, who was considered to be family.

“Candi was the first face that would greet people at the door for many, many years and she was beloved by so many in our community,” the venue said.  “Candice was a free spirited soul who embraced music to the fullest. She was always front row at metal, jambands, EDM, hip hop, and really any type of show dancing her heart out like no one was watching.” 

The night before she went missing, McLaughlin attended a show at the venue “giving us all one last memory of her projecting her happiness through music,” they said.  “We will always remember her in that light.”

Those who knew McLaughlin said there was no one else like her.  She loved to dance and was always laughing and smiling.  She also gave great hugs.

“To be able to tell you anything about Candi, you’d have to understand all the lives she touched, and I could never adequately explain that to you,” Cochran said.  “She was an absolute legend.

“‘Capt. Booyah’ was not only an actual pirate, but a beautiful person and friend. She was kind to everyone and everything and acted as the cool older sister to any of us delinquents hanging out at 123 Pleasant St. who needed someone,” she said.

Cochran said McLaughlin was one of the first people she met in Morgantown and she knew from then on “if I ended up somewhere and she was there, I was in the right spot.”

Another close friend, Jillian Kelly said she has known McLaughlin since the 90s and there was definitely no one else like her. 

“She loved her friends and she loved the local music scene. She was always fun to be around and almost everyone knew her,” Kelly said. 

“I’m happy that the last time I saw her she was having a great night dancing to live music at 123 with a big smile on her face all night. She will be very missed. It’s hard to picture a Morgantown without her,” Kelly said.

McLaughlin’s body was found Monday afternoon in Deckers Creek behind 45 Deckers Creek Blvd., near the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sabraton, by two individuals who were walking on the Deckers Creek trail, according to Morgantown Communications Director Andrew Stacy.

Morgantown police officers and firefighters responded and recovered the body from the creek.

McLaughlin had last been seen March 12 and was reported missing the following day.

Investigators were able to confirm the body as McLaughlin’s using photographs and identifying features like tattoos and piercings, Stacy said.  The clothing on the body also matched the clothing McLaughlin was last seen wearing.

There were no obvious signs of foul play or apparent signs of injury or trauma to the body, Stacy said, however all unattended deaths such as this are investigated in the same manner — as a homicide until a cause and manner of death can be determined. 

McLaughlin’s body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston, where further examination will be done to determine the time of her death and possible causes.

Detectives with the MPD are investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Division at 304-284-7454 or leave an anonymous tip by calling the MPD Tip Line at 304-284-7520.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established to help McLaughlin’s family and children.