Hunters' murder, Portage case linked?

By Deanna Hohler Bottar and Mike Sever Record-Cour Published:

Danny H. Jenkins, 51, of 846 E. Buchtel Ave. Apt. 3, Akron, was taken into custody Thursday by the Harrison County Sheriff's Office for questioning about the Oct. 31 murders of Duane and William Lockard of Suffield. No charges had been filed against Jenkins as of Friday night.

Jenkins name was obtained from a search warrant filed in Akron Municipal Court.

The Lockards had been hunting near Tappan Lake, about 60 miles southwest of Portage County, when they were shot to death.

A man who identified himself as Dan Jenkins of Akron was at the scene of a murder investigation in Deerfield Township on Nov. 4, 1994. He told a Record-Courier reporter he was one of the first to find the decomposing body of a woman in a wooded area near Fewtown Road on the north side of the Berlin Reservoir, southwest of Deerfield Circle. The identity of the murder victim remains undetermined.

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said Friday he is attempting to question Jenkins concerning the 1994 report.

"We are attempting to talk to him," he said. "Because his name showed up as having seen the (woman's) body before, that is something we would routinely do."

In 1994, the man who identified himself as Dan Jenkins told a Record-Courier reporter he had just begun hunting when he found the woman's nude, decomposing body. "She'd been there awhile, but you could still tell it was a body," he said.

Danny Jenkins was a friend of the Lockards and had hunted with the men within days of their deaths on the same property, according to the Harrison County Prosecutor's Office.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Office and Akron police executed a search warrant on Jenkins' apartment Wednesday, seeking a shotgun, spent shells or live ammunition, two wallets containing the Lockards' identifications or personal documents, a Timex men's watch and about $5,000 in cash, according to the search warrant, which was filed in Akron Municipal Court.

A search for the Lockards began Nov. 1 after they failed to contact their families Oct. 31 while on a hunting trip. Their bodies were discovered about a half-mile apart late Sunday morning by separate search parties.

Both men had been shot once in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun from a distance of 8 to 12 feet away, according to preliminary autopsy reports from the Summit County Coroner's Office.

One of the Lockards' family members told authorities the men were carrying a large sum of money, which was not found when their bodies were discovered.

An Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification employee recovered the slugs used to kill the men, according to Akron Municipal Court records.

Authorities did not find what they were looking for and instead took 21 photographs from a bedroom closet in Jenkins' apartment into evidence, according to court documents.

BCI investigators this week also executed a search warrant on Jenkins' white Ford Crown Victoria in Harrison County. Details concerning the search of the car have not been released to the public.

No charges have ever been filed in connection with the death of the unidentified woman found in Deerfield.

The death of the woman was ruled a homicide by the Portage County Sheriff's Office. A cause of death has never been discovered, and no one has been charged with the crime. The murder investigation is still open and active, Vigluicci said.

Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley said his office is not actively investigating the Harrison County murders but has provided information concerning the Deerfield slayings to authorities there.

"Our only purpose has been to identify some local information for them up on our end of the case," he said Friday. "We haven't been in direct contact with them as far as every particular detail of this case."

The discovery of the woman's body in 1994 marked the fourth murder investigation in the Deerfield area in a 12-month period.

In November 1993, the bodies of two people _ Andrew Hussey, 31, and Lisa Watters, 32 _ were found on the beach at the Berlin Reservoir in Deerfield. It is believed they were killed with single shots fire by someone on a bluff about 40 feet above where the bodies were discovered. Although several people were questioned in connection with the double murder, the homicide remains unsolved, Kaley said.

The remains of a third body were discovered Aug. 25, 1994, about a half-mile away from where Hussey's and Watters' bodies were found. The badly decomposed and battered body was identified as Kathryn Menendez, 17, of Alliance. Menendez' murder also has not been solved.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.