by the Associated Press
CHANDLERSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Authorities have run
out of leads in the investigations of four unsolved
homicides in Muskingum County.
But the families of the victims and police say they
hope a break will surface soon.
Since January 2000, sheriff's detectives have not
been able to close investigations of three murder
scenes involving four deaths, The Columbus Dispatch
Until the last few years, Muskingum County had only
one or two homicides a year, and any other cold cases
are more than a decade old, Detective Robert Stutes
said on Saturday.
Investigators interviewed several people after the
killings, but they have no definite suspects and have
found no connections among the deaths.
Sheriff's detective Mike Ryan hopes the responsible
parties will give themselves away over time.
"It is frustrating, but guilt can weigh on people
over the years," he said.
These are the unsolved murders:
-Garry and Karen Smith were found March 18, 2001,
shot to death in their newly built home in this
community 11 miles southeast of Zanesville. Mr. Smith,
60, was shot in the back and head; Mrs. Smith, 42, was
shot in the head and neck.
-Leiland Cannon, 74, was beaten to death Jan. 13,
2000, in his East Fultonham home in southwestern
-Darius M. Ford, 43, was found shot to death July
12, 2000, inside his car on public hunting land in
Muskingum Township, about 4 miles north of
In a recent letter to a newspaper, Lisa Dodd, the
Smiths' niece, said investigators want to solve the
mysteries as much as the families do.
"You are our lifeline from this hell we live in,
and we have no doubt that this coward will be brought
to justice," Dodd's letter said.
There are no apparent suspects in the Smith and
Cannon cases, but detectives said they believe a
former girlfriend might have killed Ford, who was shot
three times in the chest and head. A lack of evidence
has stalled that investigation, and detectives say
they need one more crucial piece of evidence.
There is some DNA evidence in Cannon's case, and
his relatives suspect he died in a robbery attempt.
But direction in the case has faded.
Detectives said they now must rely on witnesses or
others who can come forward with information in the
Smith and Cannon cases.