Court records: Elderly Wadsworth woman killed 3 days before body was found in closet of home


Margaret Douglas

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WADSWORTH, Ohio -- A  98-year-old woman murdered in Wadsworth was dead three days before she was found concealed in her own closet, according to court records.

The 17-year-old suspect  appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, murder, burglary and abuse of a corpse.

The boy, who prosecutors have still not identified by name, is a Wadsworth High School 11th grader.

Medina County Prosecutor Forrest Thompson tells Fox 8 News that he intends to go through the legal proceedings to eventually have the teenager tried as an adult.

Margaret Douglas was reported missing by a relative. Her body was discovered when police made a second search of her home on April 9 after first finding no sign of foul play or forced entry at the home.

Police believe she was killed three days before her body was found.

Investigators say the teenager lives close by in the neighborhood and, although he did not have a relationship with Douglas he may have known that she lived alone at her home following the death of her husband in 2000.

Wadsworth Police Chief Randall Reinke tells Fox 8 that Douglas had a habit of leaving her doors unlocked.

Police say he teenager who is accused of the crime was already a suspect in several other crimes in the neighborhood including a carjacking that happened the day before Douglas' body was found.

Police records show the victim reported he was carjacked about 3:30 am in the vicinity of Overlook and Broad street on April 8.

The car was recovered behind a building a short distance away.

According to police the victim was forced from his car by the suspect and although the facts from the initial report conflict with what investigators later learned, Lieutenant Dave Dorland confirms that a carjacking did in fact occur and the suspect is the same teenager accused of killing Douglas, who may have already been deceased at the time.

Police also believe the same teenager is responsible for an attempted break-in at a construction site that was reported on April 12, three days after the discovery of Douglas' body.

Reinke also tells Fox 8 News that the same suspect is believed to have been responsible for other property crimes in the area including car break ins but before Douglas' murder he was not believed to have been involved in any other violent crimes.

Reinke tells Fox 8 News that investigators found Douglas' wallet while executing a search warrant at the Wadsworth home where the teenager lives with his parents.
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