Investigation Continues Following Brutal Wayne County Murder

  • Metsker
A 9-year-old girl was reported missing on Saturday in Smithville, Ohio, a small town southwest of Akron. Reann Murphy had last been seen building a snowman with her 24-year-old neighbor, Jerrod Metsker.

Murphy's body was found in a nearby trash dump on Sunday morning. "She was not only killed," Sheriff's Captain Doug Hunter told reporters. "She was thrown in the trash like a piece of household garbage." Hunter added that Metsker "made a limited statement" but did not fully confess to the murder. He is being held on a $1-million bond.

A preliminary autopsy revealed Monday that Murphy had been beaten with an object. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation.

The AP reports on some of the context behind the case:

Reann and her mother had just moved into the trailer park a few months ago around the beginning of the school year, relatives said. They lived in an apartment above a maintenance garage at the park outside Smithville, 30 miles southwest of Akron.

The girl’s mother was at work Saturday afternoon while she was at home with her mother’s live-in boyfriend, Hunter said. She went outside to play in the snow and was with several other children in the trailer park’s courtyard, but the others went home, leaving Metsker alone with her, he said.

Reann was reported missing Saturday evening, about two hours after she was last seen with Metsker, Hunter said. Police officers, firefighters and neighbors went door to door looking for her. Her body was found buried under trash five hours after she was reported missing.

Metsker took part in the search, neighbor Judy Jarvis said.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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