Blair Witch
Ronald Cravens

Sheriff Cravens being interviewed for Curse of the Blair Witch.

Ronald "Ron" Cravens (b. 1942) was the sheriff of Burkittsville, Maryland until roughly late 2000. According to him, his family came from Burkittsville and continues to live there with him. His uncle, Luther Cravens, was a childhood friend of Bill Barnes.

The Search for Susan Walker[]

In May 14, 1992, Burkittsville native Jeff Patterson kidnapped his neighbor's 11-month old daughter Susan Walker and fled into the woods with the child. Then Deputy Ronald Cravens set out to catch Patterson and retrieve the child. He was able to do so with the help of other officers. As a result, Jeff Patterson, who was 17 years old at the time, was forced to spend four years in the Shelter Glen institution.

The Search for the Film Students[]

Missing poster

Cravens led the search for Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams in 1994 after the three filmmakers went missing in the Black Hills Forest. The only piece of evidence found in the 10-day search was Leonard's car. No clues were found in the car and no witnesses were able to provide clues to the location of the film students. The search was called off on November 5, 1994. By June 15, 1995, the case was officially declared a cold case.

In October 1995, students at the University of Maryland’s anthropology department discovered a duffle bag containing film cans, DAT tapes, video cassettes, a Hi8 camera, Heather’s journal and a CP-16 film camera buried under the foundation of a 100-year-old cabin. Cravens examined the evidence and announced that the footage was the property of Heather Donahue and her crew.

Select pieces of footage were shown to the families in December 1995, which provided no conclusive evidence to what happened to them. The families questioned the thoroughness of the analysis and demanded another look. In February 1996, more footage was shown, which law enforcement officials deemed to have been faked. Outraged, Angie Donahue went public with her criticism, causing Cravens to restrict all access to the evidence. Two lawsuits failed to lift the restriction.

The Lawsuits: Sheriff Cravens and Angie Donahue went before the Maryland Superior Court in a legal battle over case evidence. The Judge found the Cravens had sound reasoning for retaining custody of the evidence and ordered Mrs. Donahue to pay the court fees and cease her comments against the good Sheriff.

In March 1996, the Sheriff’s Department announced that the evidence was inconclusive and the case was once again declared inactive and unsolved. The footage was released to the families in October 1997.

Curse of the Blair Witch[]

In early 1999, Sheriff Cravens was interviewed for the documentary Curse of the Blair Witch. He tells the interviewers that Leonard's car was searched thoroughly and interviewed witnesses. Both proved fruitless and the case was declared unsolved.

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows[]

Sheriff Ron Cravens

In 1999, Cravens led the investigation into the murders of the Blair Witch Walk tour group, alongside FBI agents. A dramatization of those events was made into a Hollywood film where he was portrayed by Lanny Flaherty.