Janice Morse reports:
During the past 20 months, any time an unidentified body surfaced in Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky, Fairfield investigators probed whether the remains were Katelyn Markham’s, said Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey.
But the investigation shifts into new territory, Dickey said, now that Indiana State Police have verified that the remains found along a Franklin County creek belong to the Markham, who vanished in August 2011. She would have been 23 years old today.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Dickey said Indiana authorities notified his office that dental-record comparisons had revealed that the remains were Markham’s. Then Fairfield officers delivered the sad news to Markham’s relatives, he said.
Dickey wouldn’t say anything further about the condition of the remains or whether they revealed any clues about how Markham died. People looking for aluminum cans on Sunday had found the human bones along the edge of Big Cedar Creek, Indiana State Police said.
Markham’s family couldn’t immediately be reached. But supporters of Katelyn Markham and her family shared their thoughts and feelings via “Missing! Bring Katelyn Markham Home,” a Facebook page set up to discuss tips about her disappearance.
“The admins here have no idea what to say,” one post read. “We are all in shock and unbelievably upset beyond words. We will try to respond to people when we feel that we can. Thank you.”
Within minutes of the announcement that Indiana State Police had positively identified the remains as Markham’s, dozens of comments were made on the page.
The case, which attracted national media attention, began when Markham disappeared Aug. 13, 2011. She was last seen between 11:30 p.m. and midnight that night when her fiancé, John Carter, left her Dorshire Drive home, he said.
Carter called 911 at 8 p.m. Aug. 14, saying he had not been able to reach Markham throughout the day. He told Fairfield police that he let himself into the townhouse Markham shared with her father and found no signs of her. Her purse and keys were inside the apartment, but her cell phone was missing. Markham’s car was parked outside the townhouse, and her dog was locked in a bedroom, Carter said.
Friends said it was unlike Markham to leave without telling anyone.
She was a month away from finishing her graphic arts degree from the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati. She was also two days from her 23rd birthday and her first anniversary of being engaged. Carter said he and Markham were planning to move to Colorado that November.
Friends, relatives, local authorities and even a national mounted search group from Texas conducted dozens of searches for Markham. They combed local parks, waterways and areas in Butler and Hamilton counties but found no sign of her.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Indiana State Police at 812-689-5000, Fairfield Police at 513-867-6094 or Crime Stoppers at 888-352-3040 or 513-352-3040.
Sheila McLaughlin contributed to this story