Craigslist Ad Murder: Stow Teen Charged, Akron Man Remains Jailed

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Authorities are investigating a murder that seemingly started with a phony ad on Craigslist. Now, two people from Summit County, including a high school student, have been arrested. The teenager is facing multiple charges.

Fox 8’s Kevin Freeman reports that Dr. Russell Jones, the Stow Munroe-Falls City Schools superintendent, confirms that the Federal Bureau of Investigation pulled the 16-year-old junior out of school Wednesday afternoon for an interview before sending him home to his parents. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested.

Fox 8’s Bill Sheil has confirmed through law enforcement sources that Richard J. Beasley, 52, of Akron, was also taken into custody for his alleged involvement in the crime.

Beasley is being held on a $1 million bond at the Summit County Jail on charges of aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution.

Two victims apparently responding to a Craigslist ad were lured to a cattle farm in southeast Ohio. One victim had come from Virginia and the other was from South Carolina. The ad was seeking someone to care for cattle on nearly 700 acres of property.

The man from South Carolina barely survived. The other victim was not as fortunate.

The survivor told the sheriff in Noble County that things quickly got frightening after he met two men in a wooded area.

“He turned to see a gun pointed at his head,” Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said. “He deflected the gun and ran. As he was running from the gunman, he was shot in the arm. The gunman continued to shoot as the victim ran. The victim successfully hid in the woods for the next seven hours before making his way to a house to call for help.”

After hearing that story, deputies went searching for other potential victims. That’s when they discovered a man’s body in a shallow grave, along with a second hand-dug shallow grave that was empty. It’s presumed that the empty grave was intended for the survivor.

Police believe robbery was the motive. They have not provided suspect identities.

In a joint news release issued late Friday morning, Sheriff Hannum and Noble County Prosecutor Clifford Sickler announced that the teen had been charged. What follows is some of what was included in that release.

“A complaint has been filed in Noble County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division charging a 16-year-old individual from Summit County, Ohio, with one count of attempted murder and one count of complicity to attempted murder. It is our policy not to release the names of individuals charged in juvenile court.

“The juvenile was arrested on Wednesday in Summit County. He remains in custody. He and his family have been advised of their rights to have an attorney represent them.”

Fox 8 News on Friday has learned more about the victim who was found dead. That man’s brother tells Frey his sibling was desperate for work. He packed up his entire life and headed to southeast Ohio from his brother’s house in Virginia.

The dead man’s sister called authorities in Noble County after reading the survivor’s story online.

The Stow Police Department is assisting the FBI with its investigation. Special Agent Scott Wilson with the FBI’s Cleveland Division tells Fox 8 News that the Bureau’s Akron Office took the Summit County men into custody, but he provided no further details.

Geauga County Sheriff John Hiscox tells Fox 8 News that cadaver dogs from his agency were used in the search of the property. Hannum says that numerous agencies contributed to the investigation, including the Akron and Marietta police departments, as well as the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office.

Stick with Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for more information on this story as it becomes available.

(FOX8.com reporter Ted Achladis contributed to this report.)