WOOSTER: A Wayne County man is expected to be charged today with aggravated murder for allegedly killing his 9-year-old neighbor and dumping her body in a trash bin.
Jerrod Metsker, 24, was arrested Sunday afternoon in the slaying of Reann Murphy, who lived about 50 yards from him in a mobile home park in Green Township near Smithville.
Reann was reported missing Saturday evening, and her body was found early Sunday in the bin in a common area of the mobile home park.
Metsker was being held at the Wayne County Jail and was expected to be arraigned this morning, Sheriff Travis Hutchinson said at a news conference Sunday afternoon at the Wayne County Justice Center.
“We’re looking at charging aggravated murder in the morning,” Wayne County Prosecutor Dan Lutz said.
Hutchinson said Metsker was acquainted with Reann and her family but would not elaborate on the relationship. He said no one else is believed to have been involved in the slaying.
“All she did was love people,” Reann’s father, Richard Murphy, told the Daily Record in Wooster. He said that he wanted the “worst for the guy” who killed his daughter and declined to comment further.
Marilyn Briggs, who lives in a house next to the mobile home park where Reann lived, said she didn’t know the little girl or her family but was shaken by the killing.
“It sickens me and I’m so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas,” Briggs said. “It’s just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area.”
Briggs described the park as a bit run-down but generally safe and added that she wasn’t aware of any serious crimes in the area in the eight years she’s lived there.
According to the sheriff’s office, Reann was last seen at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, playing in the common area of the mobile home park just west of Akron Road. Lutz said Metsker was seen with her at the time but would not say whether others were present.
She was reported missing at 8:28 p.m. Hutchinson would not give any information on what happened between the time she was last seen and the time the report was made.
Sheriff’s deputies searched the area with the help of area firefighters, other law enforcement officers and volunteers. Deputies found her body about 1:35 a.m. Sunday.
Metsker was arrested at his home shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday. Lutz said the suspect would not answer the door, so deputies gained entrance with a key supplied by a relative.
Four units from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation spent much of Sunday collecting evidence at the small park of about a dozen trailers. Sheriff’s deputies would not let others onto the property.
Jim Ciotti, special agent supervisor of the bureau’s crimes against children unit, said the evidence would be transported to the BCI’s Richfield facility.
Neither Hutchinson nor Lutz would supply many details about the case, including how Reann died, the state in which her body was found and whether she was sexually assaulted.
They declined to comment on reports that Metsker had placed the 911 call and joined the search for Reann.
“Obviously all our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Lutz said.
The Green Local School District, where Reann was a student, said on its website that counselors, clergy members and safety forces representatives would be available to meet with students and staff members today.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact the sheriff’s office at 330-287-5750.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.