To see more about the crimes Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty committed, click here to buy the Beacon Journal eBook The Craigslist Killings.
A Stark County man has not been seen since interviewing for a job on Craigslist this month, his family told authorities.
Meanwhile, a Stow man said Tuesday he interviewed for the same job last month and met with a suspect in at least two shootings related to the Internet help-wanted ad.
The Nov. 13 disappearance of Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, coincides with the shooting death of one man and the shooting of another man, each of whom responded to an ad seeking someone to oversee a Noble County property.
One man’s body was unearthed last weekend, days after another man was shot in the arm while fleeing his would-be employer.
“Just got one of the strangest job offer,” Kern wrote on his Facebook page Nov. 10. “A good offer but strange. The job is to watch over 680 acres south of cambridge. Odd jobs and such but mainly just secure it. Trailer, utilities, salary. Drawbacks? No cell phone service, kids are up here, and i have to move this sunday. Life can be such a bitch sometimes.”
Kern’s son, Zachary, posted on a personal blog Sunday:
“Today when I woke up I was told that my father was one of the three people killed by the latest Craigslist killer. My father answered to an ad on Craigslist about a job opportunity involving a 688 acre farm and housing in a 2 bedroom trailer.
“No one knows the exact date he was murdered but it was sometime between Sunday the 13th and Thursday the 17th. The case is still under investigation. If you could keep my family and I in your thoughts I would appreciate it. The years ahead of me will be so hard. I love you dad. Rest in peace.”
An email seeking additional comment was sent to Zachary Kern on Tuesday.
Timothy Kern’s father, Jack Kern, of Massillon, said his son was rarely out of touch and often texted or called family members.
“We’re holding hope, but [it’s] pretty grim, I think,” he told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Richard Beasley, 52, of Akron, is considered a suspect in the Craigslist shootings. He is being held in the Summit County Jail on unrelated charges. Authorities say Beasley placed the ads that led to the shootings.
Brogan Rafferty, 16, a junior at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, is being held in a juvenile detention facility on complicity charges.
The FBI issued a news release Tuesday after meeting with Kern’s family. An FBI spokeswoman declined further comment based on a gag order placed on the Craigslist shootings last week.
Timothy Kern, the divorced father of three sons, worked most recently cleaning gas station driveways, his father said.
Jack Kern said his son apparently answered the Craigslist ad Oct. 30 and interviewed for the job with a man in an Akron restaurant Nov. 9. His son left his car with a friend in Akron on Nov. 13 and was driven to what he was told was the job site.
Interviewed for job
Ron Sanson, 58, told the Beacon Journal on Tuesday that he answered the Craigslist ad and interviewed for the job Oct. 10 at the food court inside Chapel Hill Mall.
Sanson, who lives in Stow and is an unemployed contractor, said he believes he was interviewed by Beasley. He said the man had a shaggy beard and wore a U.S. Navy baseball cap and a flannel shirt.
The job promised a $300 weekly salary, a two-bedroom trailer and use of a 688-acre property that the prospective employer said was near Cambridge.
The interview lasted about 20 minutes, Sanson said. After he left, he saw a second man being interviewed at the same table.
Sanson said he never heard back from the prospective employer.
“I would have taken that job,” he said. “I’ve been looking for property where there’s land and no people around. Just being out there alone and no one bothering me. It sounded good.”
The man told Sanson that about 100 people applied for the job and that he planned to interview four or five people that day at the mall. He said the man told him about the property, his responsibilities of protecting the property, and the rural setting, which included a pond and the use of an ATV and snowmobiles.
The only time he questioned the man’s veracity was when the man was unable to say exactly what highway exit to take to find the property.
Nonetheless, it was only after reading accounts of Beasley’s arrest did Sanson connect his interview with the Craigslist shooting.
“I’m reading the story and I said to my son [Ben, 25], ‘I know that guy,’ ” Sanson said. “That’s the guy I met at the mall. I wasn’t spooked or anything. He seemed normal to me. He wasn’t scary or anything.”
Deputies in Noble County began investigating a possible robbery and shooting Nov. 6. A South Carolina man told deputies he was lured to Marietta to meet with two men about an ad on Craigslist seeking a worker to help on a 688-acre cattle ranch.
That man was shot when he visited the property with the men. He hid for seven hours until he was able to reach a home and call for help.
Five days later, a Boston woman called deputies about her missing twin brother. She believed he answered the same Craigslist ad. Based on the information, deputies returned to the area where the Nov. 6 shooting occurred. On Nov. 15, a body was found in a shallow grave.
Authorities have not released the name of either victim, citing the judge’s gag order.
The Columbus Dispatch has identified the wounded man as Scott Davis, 48, a former Canton resident. The dead victim is identified as David Pauley of Virginia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com.