COLUMBUS, Ohio >> Authorities identified the body of an Ohio man Saturday who could potentially be the third victim of a bogus Craigslist ad that lured two jobseekers to their deaths.
The body of Ralph Geiger was found in a shallow grave Nov. 25 in the same area another body was found last month in the heavily wooded area in southeastern Ohio, Noble County Sheriff Steve Hannum said.
Hannum, under a gag order from a judge, did not say whether Geiger, 56, of Akron, answered the same ad promising farmhand work that authorities say led to the deaths of two other men.
"Recent events of an ongoing investigation led authorities to Mr. Geiger’s gravesite," Hannum said in a statement. He would not comment on the cause of Geiger’s death, but said the investigation is ongoing.
Jobseekers who interviewed for the ranch work were told they’d earn about $300 a week, have a place to live and a vehicle to drive, authorities said. But they were also warned there was no cellphone service in the area.
The alleged scheme apparently targeted middle-aged men with few family ties. A woman in her 20s who answered the ad in October said she never heard back.
Two suspects in custody are from the Akron area: a high school student who has been charged with attempted murder and 52-year-old Richard Beasley, who is in jail on unrelated charges. Beasley’s mother has described her son’s relationship with the jailed teen as that of a mentor, and has said she hopes the charges against her son are false.
Authorities say a Craigslist ad was used to lure Norfolk, Va., resident David Pauley, 51, to Ohio, apparently with the intent of robbing him. Pauley was found dead in the rural area of Noble County, 90 miles south of Akron. A South Carolina man also answered the ad and was shot Nov. 6 before escaping, police say.
Authorities say Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, whose body was found buried near an Akron shopping mall Friday, answered the ad this month and was last seen Nov. 13.
Authorities have said robbery may have been the motive for Pauley’s death and the attack on the South Carolina man. They said Pauley was told to bring all of his possessions to the site.
Kern’s father said one of the stipulations of the job was that his son was supposed to sign his car over to the man he interviewed with in exchange for a truck. Kern said his son never told him the man’s name.