A timeline: What led to the discoveries of 3 victims in Ashland, Richland counties?

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ASHLAND, Ohio — Investigators Wednesday continued to look for evidence and search properties in Ashland and Richland counties where three dead bodies were found the day before.

Tuesday, a woman called police from a home in Ashland County, reporting that she was being held captive. When police arrived, they rescued the woman and found two dead bodies.

Shawn Grate, 40, was arrested and admitted to police that another dead body was hidden at a property in Richland County. Police also recovered that body.

So far, only one of the bodies has been identified. No causes of death have been released, and investigators also have not given any possible motives.

Grate is awaiting a court appearance and is in Ashland County Jail.

The following is a timeline of Grate’s criminal history and the known events leading up to Tuesday’s discoveries:

October 1999: Grate is arrested after being accused of threatening two women armed with a butcher knife at a home in Marion County. He’s accused of blocking the doorway so they couldn’t leave and assaulting them.

January 2000: Grate pleads guilty to a charge of abduction in the October 1999 incident. He was sentenced to a maximum of five years of community control.

October 2012: Divorce proceedings begin between Grate and his wife, according to Richland County Common Pleas Court documents.

June 2016: Grate is charged by Richland County sheriff’s deputies with a count of obstructing official business.

June 2016: Grate told police yesterday he killed a woman in June at a property in Richland County. Police Tuesday found a body in a wooded ravine behind that house, which was destroyed by fire.

Sept. 8, 2016: Family members say Stacey Stanley, 43, went missing. She was last seen at 10 p.m. with a flat tire at a gas station in downtown Ashland.

Sept. 13, 2016, 6:40 a.m.: A woman calls police saying she is being held captive in a home at 363 Covert Court. When police arrive, they found the woman inside.

“He said that his past abduction charge had something to do with his ex-girlfriend and it was a big misunderstanding,” said Hope Smith, a former friend of Grate, who met him at a 12-step program about four years ago. “He was just trying to justify himself.”

Smith described Grate as quiet and nice, but said he seemed off.

“I just didn’t have full trust in wanting to be alone with him anywhere,” Smith said. “I don’t know. Something just seemed a little eerie about his quietness.”

Grate and his wife divorced in 2012, and court records show several months later, in 2013, she filed for a civil protection order against him after he threatened her and their young daughter.

The court granted the order based on threats Grate made that he was “preparing for a grand finale” and his statement, “if I can’t see my daughter then no one can.”

Sept. 14, 2016, noon: The Ashland Police Department announces that one of the bodies discovered on Covert Court is that of Stacey Stanley.

Continuing coverage here. 

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