State helping in missing women cases
MIDDLETOWN — Police investigating the cases of six women reported missing in southwest Ohio are seeking state help in determining if there’s a connection between the women.
Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve tells The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News the only solid connection seems to be that they all live within a 35-mile radius along Interstates 71 and 75. The first woman was reported missing in May 2016, and the last was reported missing in August 2017. Four of the women are from Middletown.
Reeve say police are asking Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation for an analysis to help determine any connection between the women, who range in age from 25 to 47.
Reeve says all had a history of drug abuse, some were homeless and some had a history of prostitution.
Mantua Crestwood cancels second game
MANTUA — A northeast Ohio school district has canceled a second high school football game while police determine whether a crime was committed during an unspecified incident.
The Ravenna Record-Courier reports Crestwood schools superintendent David Toth announced Tuesday that Crestwood High will not play its homecoming game Friday in Mantua. Toth last Friday suspended “football operations” indefinitely and announced an away game that night would be canceled.
Neither police nor the school district has discussed what’s being investigated. Toth has cited privacy laws in explaining why the district hasn’t discussed the incident.
Mantua Police Chief Harry Buchert said the investigation is in its preliminary stages and is being mostly handled by the school district.
Toth said a decision on the resumption of football would be made after the investigation is completed.
Inmate charged with murder found dead in cell
TOLEDO — Authorities say an inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge has been found dead in her cell in a northwest Ohio jail.
Lucas County sheriff’s officials say staff found Dewanna James unresponsive in her cell at the county jail Monday night. She was pronounced dead Tuesday.
Authorities say they found no signs of foul play or visible injuries. The cause of the 43-year-old Toledo woman’s death remains under investigation.
James had been in jail since June. Court records show Toledo police allege she stabbed 59-year-old Paul Napier, Jr., during an argument in November 2016. A medical assessment found that Napier had a collapsed lung. He died in January.
James had pleaded not guilty to charges including murder in Napier’s death. Her trial was set for Oct. 30.
2 life sentences for alleged gang member
HAMILTON — A man who authorities say was a member of a gang called the Cincinnati White Boys has been sentenced to consecutive life sentences for two slayings last year.
Twenty-nine-year-old Doug Best cried and apologized as he was sentenced Tuesday in southwest Ohio’s Butler County.
Best told the judge he’s “truly remorseful” for killing “two innocent people for no reason.”
Best pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder in the slayings of Joseph Romano and Tiffany Hoskins in Middletown on consecutive days last November.
Twenty-two-year-old co-defendant Derrick Brown pleaded guilty in April to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges and was sentenced to 51 years to life. Twenty-seven-year-old Charles Graham faces trial next month on charges of attempted burglary and participating in a criminal gang.
Police: Suspect wounded in shootout
NORTON — Police say a man has been taken into custody at a storage facility outside Akron after he was wounded in a shootout with officers.
A 911 caller reported seeing a man armed with a rifle at a storage facility in Norton on Tuesday night. Police advised people in the area to stay in their homes, and nearby Barberton High School, where athletics events were taking place, was put on lockdown.
Police say the man shot at officers, who then returned fire. The man suffered at least one gunshot wound, but it is unclear if he was hit by officers’ gunfire or shot himself. He was taken to an Akron hospital.
No officers were hit.
Officials say the suspect, a 41-year-old man from Akron, has an extensive criminal history.