The discovery of two new bodies could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that authorities say lured victims into a robbery scheme.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The discovery of two new bodies could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that authorities say lured victims into a robbery scheme.
A body found Friday in a grave near a mall in Akron may be that of a man who answered the ad, the FBI said. A sheriff in a rural county said later Friday that the body of another man without identification was found in a grave about 90 miles away.
The FBI is working on the supposition the body found near the Rolling Acres shopping mall in Akron may be that of Timothy Kern, 47, who hasn’t been seen in more than a week, agency spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said.
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“Do we think it might be? Maybe,” Anderson said. “He’s missing. We haven’t been able to find him.” She declined to specify how the body was discovered.
Kern, of Massillon, answered the same ad for a farmhand that authorities say led to the shooting death of Norfolk, Va., resident David Pauley, 51, in a rural area of Nobel County 90 miles south of Akron. A South Carolina man reported answering the ad and being shot Nov. 6, but he escaped.
Noble County Sheriff Steve Hannum is under a judge’s gag order and can’t comment on the case, but he sent an email late Friday with the title “second body,” implying the discovery was connected with Pauley’s death.
Neighbors in the area where Pauley’s body was found last week and where the second body was found Friday said police had been in the area and a helicopter had been overhead most of the day.
Timothy Kern’s father, Jack, called the outlook “pretty grim” earlier this week.
His son was promised $300 a week, a trailer and a truck for the job near Caldwell in southern Ohio, Jack Kern said.
In a Facebook post Nov. 10, Timothy Kern wrote: “Just got one of the strangest job offers. A good offer but strange. … “
Jack Kern, also of Massillon, said his son apparently answered the Craigslist ad Oct. 30 and interviewed for the job with a man in an Akron restaurant Nov. 9. His son left his car with a friend in Akron on Nov. 13 and was supposed to be driven to what he was told was the job site. His son has not been seen or heard from since.
The FBI on Tuesday had said, without elaboration, that Timothy Kern’s disappearance might be linked to a farm-job robbery scheme.
Two people from the Akron area are in custody: a high-school student who has been charged with attempted murder, and Richard Beasley, 52, who was jailed on unrelated charges.
Beasley’s mother has said he has “a very caring heart” and she prays newspaper reports he is a suspect are wrong.
Another man who responded to the farm-job ad has said he met Beasley at a food court at a different mall in the Akron area Oct. 10.
Beasley told Ron Sanson, of Stow, he was looking for an older, single or divorced person to watch over a 688-acre farm in southeast Ohio, the kind of man, Sanson said, whose disappearance might not be quickly noticed.
Sanson, 58, said he filled out an application and talked for about 20 minutes with Beasley about a $300-a-week job overseeing a swath of land a mile from the nearest neighbor and living rent-free in a two-bedroom trailer with opportunities to hunt and fish and free access to ATVs and snowmobiles.
The farm advertised on Craigslist does not exist; the area where the two bodies were found in Noble County is property owned by a coal company and often leased to hunters.
Law-enforcement officials have released few details because of the gag order.
Hannum, the sheriff in Noble County where Pauley and the South Carolina man were shot, previously said it was unclear how long the ad was online or whether there were other victims.