MARLBORO TWP. — A missing 18-year-old Marlington High School student was found Tuesday afternoon in a pond.

Aidan Jewell's body was discovered shortly after 3 p.m.

"He was found in pond just east of a residence in the 14000 block of Ravenna Avenue NE (state Route 44)," said Harry Campbell, chief investigator with the Stark County Coroner's Office. "It is literally in the backyard of this residence. He was found in approximately 3 to 4 feet of water between 40 to 50 yards off-shore. As far as when he entered the water, I don't have an answer for you."

A dive team from Summit County recovered the body.

The search for Jewell, who had been missing since Sunday, has evolved into an investigation, and arrests are expected, Marlboro Police Chief Ron Devies said Tuesday.

What had been strictly a search-and-rescue operation now includes "an investigation into what happened that night and who's responsible," he said. "And now we're going to be assisted by the Canton field office of the FBI with interviews and interrogation."

It had been reported Jewell last was seen walking away from a party at a home on Pontius Street NE about 2 a.m. Sunday. Jewell's father, Eugene Dieffenbaugher of Washington Township, disputes that account.

"That is not correct," Dieffenbaugher told The Canton Repository on Tuesday. "He did not walk away from that party. The people that were responsible for what happened to my son will be held accountable. He has been nothing but a good kid."

Dieffenbaugher said he has an idea of the circumstances of how and why Jewell left the party, but he declined to divulge his theory.

The party Jewell attended involved "kids he went to school with," Dieffenbaugher said.

Investigators do not believe Jewell could have made it far from the party on his own.

"Not in the condition he was described to be in," Devies said, acknowledging the party involved illegal drug activity and alcohol consumption.

"There are going to be arrests forthcoming from that," he said, with a notice to those involved: "To those who assist us with information as to Aidan's whereabouts, we are going to be more lenient on those who aid us rather than those who stonewall us.

"Our investigation has taken us to other areas, in case he left with somebody from the party. We're not limiting any other options," Devies said a few hours before the discovery of the body.

The search began Sunday and continued into Monday.

Investigators employed the use of drones equipped with thermal-imaging equipment and all-purpose vehicles, an Ohio Highway Patrol helicopter searching from above and assistance by troopers, Stark Parks officers, Stark County Sheriff's deputies, K-9 groups, the Fire Department Rehab Unit and firefighter/medics from Hartville, Alliance, Marlboro Township, Randolph, Lexington Township and Washington Township fire departments.

Anyone with information about the circumstances surrounding Jewell's death should contact Marlboro police at 330-935-2338.

 

Canton Repository staff writers Lori Steineck and Malcolm Hall contributed to this report.