I haven’t been to Chillicothe, Ohio since going there for a rock climbing trip with my church youth group in the 7th grade, but recently I’ve been hearing things that send a shiver up my spine.
Chillicothe was Ohio’s first state capital, and was known in the 1800s as a safe haven for free blacks who skipped the border from the “south”.
Now Chillicothe is starting to be known by some as the “place women go to die”.
The string of apparent homicides and disappearances began when the body of 30-year-old Tameka Lynch was found on May 24th, 2014. A kayaker found her body naked in a creek. While the coroner ruled that the cause of death was a “multiple drug overdose” her manner of death is still described as the result of “undetermined circumstances”.
Using the area where Lynch had been found as a guide, police began searching for another missing woman, Charlotte Trego. Trego had been reported missing only two days after Lynch, and the two were said to be friends. Trego had left her home after being evicted, and has not been heard or seen from since.
Wanda Lemons vanished in early November, and was reported missing on December 28th. Lemons had told her friend, who was the last person to ever see her, that she was considering hitchhiking with a truck driver down to Texas. However, there is no evidence of Lemons being in Texas, or anywhere else for that matter.
Shasta Himelrick was last seen on Christmas 2014. Unlike the others, Himelrick did not vanish without a trace. Video footage was captured of her filling up her car at a gas station the day after Christmas. Her car was found abandoned near the Scioto River. That’s also where they found Himelrick’s body.
While authorities have deemed Himelrick’s death a suicide, her family says no way. She was reportedly very happy about having a child, and told friends that she was excited to be “eating for two!”
Timberly Claytor’s body was found discarded on the side of a highway on May 29th, 2015. She had three bullet holes in her head. There could be no mistaking it in this case, Claytor had been murdered. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the last.
Tiffany Sayre had been missing since May 11th when her body was found on June 20th in a drainage pipe. She was found wrapped up in a sheet with duct-tape over all her hair.
An FBI Task Force has been assembled to investigate the cases of the still missing women, and those that have been found dead by homicide. But it is a lack of information that is holding the local police and FBI back:
“We’ve checked land, air and water for any signs of (the women),” Police Chief Washburn told USA Today, “But the problem is you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack unless you have the information. The information we have is running dry on some of these cases.”
Chillicothe natives have taken to Twitter with some mixed reactions:
Don't be places you shouldn't be, don't do things you shouldn't do, & don't let strangers in your house and you'll survive Chillicothe 😇
— sav🪴 (@savannnagrace) June 25, 2015