NEW FRANKLIN — Three days after Christmas 2013, Kerri Blondheim appeared to hit rock bottom.
In a series of Facebook posts, Blondheim, then 37, said she’d been an addict more than half her life and was “not a very good” daughter or friend, a “horrible” sister and the “worst mother there is.”
But Blondheim wanted to change.
“I don’t need clothes, I don’t need charity ... I just need help on how to ... make it in the real world without have to alter my mind,” she wrote. “I want to die a better person than this.”
It’s not clear if she succeeded.
Authorities Tuesday identified Blondheim, 43, as the body discovered ablaze Sunday night on the side of Van Buren Road near the New Franklin-Barberton line.
A passer-by spotted the roadside fire about 8:25 p.m. and authorities initially thought it was merely a mattress on fire. When the flames were extinguished, however, they found Blondheim's body.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office this week said Blondheim was the victim of a violent homicide, but it hasn’t specified the cause of her death.
Barberton police launched the initial homicide investigation. On Tuesday, however, the department announced that New Franklin police were taking the lead because they determined Blondheim’s body was found 20 feet over the Barberton border.
A blackened char mark the size of a single mattress marked the spot on a gravel pull-off next to the Tuscarawas River this week where Blondheim was found.
On her Facebook page, her last public posts came March 31 when more than two dozen people wished her happy birthday.
On Tuesday, a Beacon Journal reporter posted a message on Facebook asking her friends to talk about Blondheim. Most didn’t respond. Some angrily declined.
On her page, Blondheim said she had attended Jackson High School and lived in Akron, though investigators said she most recently lived in Massillon.
How Blondheim ended up on this stretch of Van Buren Road — an industrial area with a walking path along the river — 20 miles away from Massillon is not clear.
Neither is whether Blondheim managed to kick the addiction she longed to leave behind in 2013.
Two years later after Blondheim's Facebook posts longing for change, Summit County Common Pleas court records show she pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced to 12 months of community control that involved drug and alcohol testing.
A few months later, court records show she violated the terms and a judge ordered, among other things, that Blondheim be assessed for the Special Housing Adjustment Residential Program, or SHARP, at Oriana House.
SHARP helps people diagnosed with severe mental illness and offers life skills classes to help with taking medication as directed, hygiene and nutrition.
Court records do not say whether Blondheim went to the program, but show she continued to violate the terms of community control, as recently as July 2017.
It was a life she apparently didn’t want for herself, or others she knew she could hurt.
In 2013, Blondheim wrote on Facebook that she had recently found love, but let the person go.
“They’re going places.They have a future. I don’t feel that’s fair to them to not bring up the consequences of dating an addict, a criminal of a felon,” she wrote on Facebook. “I’m so alone and small.”
Reporter Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettABJ.