Police Chief Believes Dead Body is Suspect’s Wife

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The owner of a home on Marine Parkway in Mentor-on-the-Lake has been charged with murder, Fox 8 News reports.

Gary S. Stroud, 57, appeared in Mentor Municipal Court on Tuesday morning and was charged with felony counts of murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence, as well as a misdemeanor count of failure to report a death. The charges were issued after a body was removed from the garage of his home located at 5610 Marine Parkway Sunday night.

Stroud was ordered held on a $1 million bond. Fox 8 News crews were in court as Stroud plead not guilty to the misdemeanor count and entered no plea to the felony counts.

The identity of the deceased was not provided in court on Tuesday, but Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Chief John P. Gielink tells Fox 8 News’ Emily Valdez that authorities believe the body found is that of Stroud’s wife, Diane.

Chief Gielink says that Diane has not been seen in six weeks and that Gary Stroud told his adult children, one of whom lives in the home on Marine Parkway, that Diane packed up some of her belongings and left the state.

Chief Gielink tells Valdez that the body was so badly decomposed that authorities will have to wait on dental or DNA records to positively identify the individual.

The body remains in the custody of the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. The female had not been positively identified as of Tuesday afternoon.

According to an incident report obtained by Fox 8 News, the body found was that of a Caucasian female. The incident report says the body was wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape. A plastic bag was found over the head of the body, which was also wrapped in duct tape.

The report indicates the woman’s body was stuffed into a sleeping bag.

A 911 call obtained by Fox 8 News provides some insight as to how the body was discovered.

The adult child who lives with Stroud called authorities and alerted them of something she had found in the garage of the home.

“I think there is a dead animal in my garage,” the caller told the 911 dispatcher.

The dispatcher responded, “So you think there’s a dead dog in your garage?”

The caller then responds by saying, “There’s something.”

Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap tells Fox 8 News’ Suzanne Stratford that Stroud was taken into custody Sunday evening around 8:00 p.m. by Mentor-on-the-Lake police.

Dunlap says Stroud is a retired Mentor Police Officer, who until recently worked part-time at the sheriff’s office.

He mainly worked security in the courtroom and on bank runs, Dunlap said.

Authorities continue to investigate the events that led up to a body being found in Stroud’s home.

Stroud remains housed at the Lake County jail.

Stroud worked for the Lake County Sheriff’s office from 2006 until September of this year and was let go due to budget cuts, Dunlap said.

Two family pets were also removed from the home Monday and were given to family members.

The Lake County Humane Society will care for several chickens that were kept in the yard.