Attempted murder charge in Ohio Craigslist case

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press Published:

CALDWELL, Ohio (AP) -- A 16-year-old boy was charged Friday with attempted murder and complicity to attempted murder by authorities investigating the killing of one man and the wounding of another who had responded to a phony job ad on Craigslist.

"The investigation is moving swiftly but also deliberately," Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum and Prosecutor Clifford Sickler said in a news release announcing the charges. They said the teen was arrested Wednesday and remained in custody.

The officials said no further information would be released because a judge on Friday had issued a gag order. Authorities had said the order was sought by the attorney for a juvenile suspect who wanted to keep authorities and prosecutors from speaking about what the lawyer described as a "highly sensational" case.

Cadaver dogs found the body of a Florida man this week in a grave in a remote area outside Caldwell, a small village about 80 miles east of Columbus, after a jobseeker from South Carolina was shot but ran away through the woods, Hannum said.

The sheriff said previously that two men had been taken into custody. The Akron Beacon Journal identified as suspects a 52-year-old man from Akron, about 90 miles away, and a 16-year-old student from Stow-Munroe Falls High School in the Akron area.

Jail officials said they could not confirm that they were holding an inmate who was a suspect in the case.

Stow-Munroe Falls Superintendent Russ Jones identified the juvenile suspect as a 16-year-old junior at the high school. On Friday, Jones declined to elaborate on the teen's background or activities but said there was no security issue at the school.

"The incident in question originated from Noble County, which is in southeastern Ohio, had nothing to do in any way, shape or form with any of our students or staff nor at school grounds," he said.

Hannum said the South Carolina man escaped from the remote area on Nov. 6 and went to police, who later found a hand-dug grave that they believe had been intended for him.

The man had been told to carry his belongings to Ohio because he'd be living at the farm, and investigators believe robbery was the motive, he said.

Five days later, authorities received a call from the Florida man's twin sister, concerned that her brother had not been heard from since Oct. 22 in Parkersburg, W.Va., the sheriff said. The twin, in Boston, said her brother had responded to what she believed was the same Craigslist ad, which sought a caretaker for cattle on a 688-acre farm.

Investigators then found the Florida man's body.

Authorities had said an autopsy on the Florida man was being performed Thursday. A message seeking comment was left Friday for the Noble County coroner.

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