“I don’t want to come out and say ‘yes, we have a serial killer,’ but it’s a small community that we live in … and the number of females who have come up missing, and then the bodies that we’ve found, that’s quite a bit for our community,” Staff Lt. Mike Preston told the Washington Post.  Rumors of a serial killer are spreading around the city of Chillicothe in south-central Ohio.

“The investigation so far has not produced any evidence that the missing females and deceased females (are) tied to any one person,” said Lt. Mike Preston of the Ross County Sheriff’s Department.

A prosecutor has said that the women frequented some of the same places, including a rehab center, and knew some of the same people.  And all four of the women found dead were found in or near bodies of water.

“The investigation has lead us to information that some of the females were battling a heroin addiction and they were prostituting themselves to fund their heroin addiction,” Preston said.

A heroin epidemic has hit some northeastern U.S. states, including Ohio.  Prostitutes and others who struggle on the streets of cities, like the homeless, are common targets of serial killers.  Not all of the women have been confirmed to have drug addiction problems or involved in prostitution.

Charlotte Trego, 27, went missing on May 3, 2014 and is still missing.  Her mother reported her missing after she didn’t see her for 2 weeks.  Trego first suffered from pain medication addiction, but graduated to heroin.  In the spring of 2014, she told her mother she was ready to get clean and her mother set up a rehab center for her.  But, Trego was evicted by her roommate and went missing.

Tameka Lynch, 30, went missing at the same time as Trego (some reports say a few days later and others say the same day). She was found dead on May 24, 2015, almost a year later.  Four kayakers discovered her body lying on a sandbar in Paint Creek.  Her death was officially ruled a drug overdose.  Lynch and Trego knew each other.  Despite Lynch’s body being found on a sandbar, police have told relatives that she was deceased before getting into the water.

“She would do anything for anybody…That was her biggest downfall,” her mother said.

Lynch also suffered from drug addiction problems, especially after being diagnosed with lupus.

Wanda Lemons, 37, went missing on November 4, 2013 and is still missing.  Her mother reported her missing after not hearing from her in 2 months.  It was common for her to go without communication for long periods of time, but she often checked in on holidays.  A friend reported seeing her on November 3rd and heard that she was headed to Texas.  On November 5th, Lemons made contact with one of her 5 children.

Shasta Himelrick, 20, went missing on December 26, 2014 and was found dead on January 4th of this year in the Scioto River.  Himelrick was pregnant when she went missing the day after Christmas.  She was last seen on surveillance camera at a gas station.  Later, her car was found abandoned on a bridge with her doors open and the battery dead.

“She was so happy, and I just want everybody to know she was a good woman,” her cousin Christopher Wallingford told WBNS.

Her death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning because there were no “pre-mortem” injuries.  She had non-fatal levels of drugs in her system.

Tiffany Sayre, 26, went missing on May 11, 2015 and was found naked half wrapped in a sheet on June 20th not far from where Lynch’s body was discovered four weeks earlier by a passerby.  She was found in a drainage pipe that ran under a nature preserve road.  The mother of two had reportedly struggled with addiction and was working as a prostitute.  The night she was last seen she was working at a local motel with her friend, Jessie Sanford.  Around midnight, she left to meet some people and disappeared.

The father of Sayre’s two young children, Kenneth Buell said, “For a couple of years we were both on drugs.”  Buell said he got clean, but Sayre couldn’t so they broke up.

“It just had a hold of her.”

Sayre had begun dating another man and according to her sister was working to get clean, but her boyfriend died of a blood clot.

“It hit my sister really hard. She really loved him,” Jessica Sayre said, ““They had planned on moving…actually getting married and having a life together. I think she did the drugs a little more to help with the pain. She didn’t want to be in her right mind…My sister did these things that we did not approve of to get money for drugs, because we didn’t want to be the source of money…She did what she had to do.”

“Did she have a problem? Yes, everybody’s got problems,” Buell said.

“Makes me mad, makes me hurt,” her father Thomas Kuhn told WSYX, “All I know is we are going to catch you…”

Sayre’s death has been ruled a homicide.  Her case launched the task force that is now investigating all the cases, even those ruled as suicides or accidents.  The investigation is also considering at least 3 cases from nearby areas.

Timberly Claytor, 38, was found dead on May 29, 2015.  A mother of 5, Claytor was found dead with 3 gunshot wounds to the head.  According to a friend of Claytor’s, Marcia Pummel, she struggling with a heroin addiction.  “I think more people need to talk about it,” she said. “There’s a stigma. Nobody will talk about it.” Pummel said she lost her nephew to a heroin overdose.  Jason A. McCrary, a 36-year-old convicted sex offender has been named as a suspect by the police.  He has not been charged with a crime.

The FBI is helping investigate the string of disappearances and deaths that have taken place over just one year.

“We’ve got too many women missing in our community and it’s time to get some answers,” Sheriff George Lavender said at a press briefing.

The families of the women feel as though the police didn’t take their cases seriously, “The police didn’t take it serious and just blew me off…I don’t think they were worried because they were just saying ‘these are just women who are strung out on drugs, or doing whatever,’” Lynch’s mother, Angela Robinson said.  Trego’s mother, Yvonne Boggs told the Huffington Post, “The day I reported her missing was very upsetting to me.  The cop said, ‘Women like your daughter take off because they don’t want to be bothered.”  Lemons’ mother Diana Willett said that she is happy the FBI is finally involved, “[They] should’ve done it a long time ago when all this started happening but they’re doing their job now.”

Jessica Sayre said, “It’s been a nightmare…Nothing is going to bring her back, but we are going to get justice. And we are going to pray for these two other women who are [still] missing in Chillicothe.”

The Sheriff’s Office and police request that anyone with information on the missing and slain women contact the Task Force Hotline at 740-774-FIND (740-774-3463) or email Findme@RossSheriff.com.

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