CLEVELAND (Reuters) – A body which may be connected to a phony Craigslist job listing that investigators suspect is behind a deadly crime spree in Ohio was identified on Saturday as 56-year old Ralph H. Geiger.
The body of Geiger, whose last known address was Akron, Ohio, was the third found in Ohio possibly linked to the Craigslist ad.
Authorities believe there is a link after a South Carolina man, Scott Davis, survived a shooting attack in rural Noble County, Ohio on November 6 when he answered an ad looking for a ranch hand. Davis was shot while running away from two men he met when he responded to the ad.
One of the three bodies was found in a shallow grave on November 15 near where Davis was shot, identified as David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Virginia. A second body was found in a shallow grave on November 25 behind a semi-deserted mall in Akron, Ohio.
The third body, Geiger, was also discovered on November 25. A coroner’s report released on Saturday said Geiger died of a gunshot to the head. No date of death was given but the report said the body was moderately decomposed. Geiger’s family was notified.
After Davis survived the attack, 16-year-old Brogan Rafferty was arrested and charged with attempted murder and murder in juvenile court. His next hearing is December 15.
Another man named by the FBI as a suspect in the shooting, Richard J. Beasley, 52, is in prison in Summit County, Ohio on unrelated drug and prostitution charges.
The phony ad was posted on Craigslist October 7 and offered $300 a week to “simply watch over a 688 acre patch of hilly farmland.”
The case is under a gag order issued from a judge in Noble County, Ohio but the sheriff’s office said they found Geiger’s grave site through the ongoing investigation.
There have been several instances in recent years of attackers allegedly finding victims through postings on the classified ad website Craigslist.
In 2009, a former medical student was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist, and police have been hunting for at least one serial killer in the New York area thought to prey on prostitutes who advertised on the site.
(Editing by Greg McCune)
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