NEW FRANKLIN: Jeff Schobert and his wife, Peg, gave their time, money, food and, maybe most importantly, their tireless spirits to the Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs.
The camp’s picturesque site is on a twisting road in the Portage Lakes area, only hundreds of yards from the Schobert family home on Rex Lake Drive near a longtime lakeside nightspot, Dusty’s Landing.
Jack Harig, a Rotary Club member who sits on the children’s camp board, said he had known Jeff Schobert, a prominent area attorney, for 25 to 30 years.
Typical of his volunteer work for the camp, Schobert put up a group of poplar trees near the camp pavilion several years ago, Harig said, “as a personal project, planting the trees and getting them going.”
The loss of the Schoberts, in what authorities have described only as a “double homicide” Tuesday afternoon, will be felt by many, their friends said Wednesday.
“It’s a loss for the community. When you have people who do good work and you lose them,” Harig said, “it takes away a little bit from everyone.”
New Franklin police Chief Dan Davidson and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Wednesday that Schobert, 56, and his wife, Margaret J. “Peg” Schobert, 59, were killed inside the master bedroom of the home.
A construction worker found the bodies about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, Davidson said. They were pronounced dead at 2:39 p.m.
Davidson declined to comment on the manner of death, saying investigators were waiting for autopsy results from the medical examiner.
The chief said construction workers were remodeling toward the rear of the property inside the home that provides a sprawling, scenic view of the lake to the west.
One of the workers, who needed to use the restroom, walked past the master bedroom and saw what he thought was a pillow on the floor, Davidson said.
The worker entered the bedroom and called 911 at 2:22 p.m., the chief said.
Davidson declined Wednesday to release the recording of the 911 call, saying it “would reveal the manner of death.”
Investigators from the New Franklin department, Akron police and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were conferring with officials from the medical examiner’s office, Davidson said, and a release of the contents of the 911 call could come later.
There were no firm suspects as of late Wednesday afternoon, according to the lead investigator, New Franklin police Detective Mike Hitchings.
Davidson did say, however, that investigators were trying to determine if there is a connection between Tuesday’s slayings and a violent incident March 23 with one of the Schobert’s two adopted daughters, Chelsea.
According to an Akron police report, Chelsea Schobert, 18, was beaten and stabbed early that morning at an Akron home.
Jamayne Ruiz, described in the police report only as a “stranger” to the victim, is being held in the Summit County Jail on a $250,000 bond for his alleged involvement.
Davidson said investigators interviewed Ruiz at the jail, but the chief stopped short of saying he was a serious suspect in connection with the slayings.
Couple’s vehicle found
In another development later Wednesday, Akron police reported finding the slain couple’s blue Mazda CX-9 sport utility vehicle abandoned in West Akron.
Police did not disclose the precise location, or if the vehicle contained any possible criminal evidence.
The vehicle is impounded at the New Franklin Police Department.
Davidson said there apparently was not much activity at the family’s residence over the Easter holiday because the Schoberts were very concerned about their daughter.
“I just know they were caring for their daughter, spending a lot of time at the hospital,” the chief said.
Harig said the entire Schobert family were devoted volunteers to the children’s camp for years, contributing in many ways.
“Jeff and his wife supported scholarships for kids that couldn’t afford to come to camp. They were ongoing supporters of the camp, just really neat people,” Harig said.
Jeff Schobert, he said, was a former Akron Rotarian and board member of the children’s camp.
“I like to refer to people like Jeff, who although he wasn’t an active member, as a Rotarian in spirit, with his community dedication and service. And his wife was the same way,” Harig said.
Dan Reynolds, executive director of the Akron Rotary Camp, called the couple “wonderful neighbors.”
“We are very saddened,” he said.
Jeff Schobert was last seen, investigators said, about 7 p.m. Monday walking his dog along the road to his home.
By Wednesday afternoon, police tape surrounded the home and unused stacks of lumber were piled neatly in the driveway with a New Franklin police cruiser nearby.
Staff writer Jim Carney and Akron Beacon Journal news partner WEWS-TV (Channel 5) contributed to this report. Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.