A year to the day that the family of Katelyn Markham held an event to keep her disappearance in the spotlight, they will return to Harbin Park in Fairfield (1300 Hunter Road) Saturday to celebrate her life and thank the hundreds of people who searched for her and supported them.
Dave Markham, Katelyn’s father, is hosting the 5 p.m. event in the park’s overlook shelter which will include a cookout with hotdogs and refreshments. Luke Midkiff, a friend of Katelyn’s who formerly performed with the band Dizzy Citizen, will play the guitar and videos of Katelyn will be shown along with a display of her artwork.
Missy Hammond, a family friend, said the event also is meant to give friends and searchers “the opportunity to come out and do what they need to do to deal with (Katelyn’s death).
Katelyn, a graphic arts student at the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati, vanished from her home on Dorshire Drive in Fairfield on Aug. 14, 2011. Skeletal remains found more than a week ago at a dump site along Big Cedar Creek in Franklin County, Ind., were identified as hers.
The Indiana State Police are heading an investigation into her death and no information is being released regarding evidence or a possible suspect.
Hammond said it will be at least another week before Katelyn’s remains will be returned to her family for a funeral service.
The discovery of Katelyn Markham’s skeletal remains doesn’t mean her death will be solved quickly, as would be the case in a TV crime drama.
But her skeleton and the place it was found can provide significant clues about how she died and possibly who did it, experts say.
A Brookville, Ind., couple scouring the Big Cedar Creek area for scrap metal stumbled upon Markham’s remains April 7. Pieces of her skeleton were strewn around an area that police called a dump site for junk. Her skull was found in a plastic bag.
And that bag could end up being a key piece of evidence in the newly invigorated investigation, experts say.
“Your head does not just end up in a bag in a dump. It’s hard to imagine that it’s anything but a homicide,” said Mark Krumbein, a Cincinnati attorney who has spent three decades defending clients charged with murder and other crimes.
“Normally, when someone places a bag over someone’s head, it’s for the purposes of suffocation or asphyxiation,” said Joe Pollini, a former New York City detective who now is the deputy chair of John Jay College Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration in New York City.
Indiana State Police and detectives in Fairfield aren’t saying what was found at the site along with Markham’s body. Fairfield police are referring requests for information or comment to Indiana State Police.
Anything collected at the Cedar Grove site is either being stored as evidence or tested at the Indiana State Police lab in Indianapolis, said Sgt. Noel Houze, spokesman for the state police post in Versailles. And there’s no timetable on how long analysis might take.
To Krumbein, the dump site and the way in which her body was disposed is “fairly critical” to the case. It can provide clues to help identify a killer.
“The creek area is basically a dump. So whoever got rid of the body probably was angry at the victim and wanted to get rid of the body in a disrespectful way,” said Krumbein, who has defended “dozens and dozens” of homicide cases. (more…)
Sheila McLaughlin and Jennifer Edwards Baker report:
The bones were scattered around a tree about 30 yards from the west bank of Big Cedar Creek. A skull wrapped in clumps of a woman’s brown hair was concealed in a black plastic sack, the kind you find at the local grocery store.
That was the gruesome discovery Andy Hicks and his wife Natalie of Brookville made early Sunday in Cedar Grove, Ind., as they scoured for scrap metal to help pay their bills.
“After we found the jawbone we called the cops,” Andy Hicks, 35, said Thursday as he stood near the creek in the rain.
“I am just glad that she was found and the family can get some closure. It’s not full closure because they don’t know exactly what happened to her. But at least they know where their little girl is at.”
That “little girl” turned out to be Katelyn Markham, a 21-year-old art student from Fairfield who vanished from her Dorshire Drive home without a trace on Aug. 14, 2011, days before her 22nd birthday.
A day after Markham’s body was identified through dental records at the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office, Markham’s family and fiance were grief-stricken, while coroners in two states aren’t sure what her skeletal remains will tell them.
How did she die?
An autopsy is out of the question because the remains consist mainly of bone, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Kode Sammarco said. A forensic anthropologist will have to examine the bones to see if they show any evidence of trauma.
Maybe the bones will tell a story about Markham’s death. Maybe they won’t. (more…)
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.
The discovery of Markham’s remains might help investigators figure out what happened to her, he said, adding, “While leads have diminished, we have not given up the hunt.”
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.
UPDATE: Missing Middletown woman found safe in Ky.
Bonnie Vaughan was always reliable. So when Vaughan’s manager told her best friend and co-worker, Sally Cullers, that he hadn’t heard from her all day, that seemed odd to Cullers, too.
“I started trying call and text her,” Cullers said.
But as time passed with no word from Vaughan, Cullers’ concerns intensified to the point where she went to the Middletown police station to file a missing-person report around 10:25 p.m. Monday.
Bonnie Vaughan. Photo provided.
“It started getting later and later, and it just didn’t seem right,” said Cullers, who works with Vaughan at LexisNexis south of Dayton, Ohio.
By late Tuesday, Cullers said she felt uncomfortable talking to news reporters but did so in hopes that spreading the word would help find her friend. “I do want her home safely,” Cullers said.
Cullers said she was worried but was trying to keep her hopes up for a positive outcome.
Cullers described Vaughan as “very bubbly and friendly,” with no known enemies.
She never expressed any desire to leave the area, especially not now, while her son was home visiting from college. “She was really looking forward to him coming home,” Cullers said.
Police said their initial investigation showed Vaughan had left her home in the 5600 block of Stone Path Drive around 11 a.m. Monday and headed for work at LexisNexis, about a 22-minute drive, but never arrived. That situation alone was cause for concern, a detective said.
Cullers said she also thinks there’s no way her friend would purposely miss her son’s birthday on Tuesday.
Hamilton police are looking for a missing 17-year-old girl.
Police said Desiree Riggins contacted her mother Wednesday and her mother is concerned the teen could be suicidal. The teen is described as a black female, 150 pounds, 5 feet 4 inches tall with brown eyes and black hair.
If anyone has information, call police at 513-868-5811 ext. 2010.