Tallmadge police and agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating the discovery of two bodies found Saturday behind a home on Stone Creek Drive as a double homicide.
The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office identified the first set of remains late Monday night as 31-year-old Wendy Ralston, who lived in the home with her 5-year-old son Peyton and her 39-year-old boyfriend, whom Tallmadge Lt. Ron Williams declined to identify.
In a 10-minute press conference at Tallmadge City Hall on Tuesday, Williams said the medical examiner identified the second set of remains as Peyton on Tuesday.
The bodies were discovered inside a duffel bag, wrapped in a bedsheet and comforter, according to the medical examiner.
Williams said no cause or time of death have been determined and no suspects have been identified. He said it's "likely" that Wendy Ralston was killed inside the residence, but no weapons have been found.
Police have interviewed many people, including Wendy Ralston's boyfriend, Williams said, and the amount of evidence in the case is "substantial."
"I'd like to assure the community we're working on this. We will maintain security on the house and that will continue for some time to come," Williams said.
He said neighbors on Stone Creek Drive have no reason to be concerned that a dangerous person is in the area.
"Killers have been on the loose every day of my whole life," Williams said. "What I would say is that we've had at least two police officers on that house since this has become knowledge so I understand they're concerned, but I also feel they're pretty secure in their homes at this time."
According to an initial report from the Medical Examiner's Office, Wendy Ralston's boyfriend reported her missing to Tallmadge Police July 23. Williams said that morning was the last time anyone was known to have contact with her, which was via a post on Facebook.
Williams said at Tuesday's press conference that Ralston's mother again reported her and her son missing to the police on Aug. 7.
"The mother herself was not overly concerned because it wasn't uncommon for Wendy to break contact with the family for a period of time," Williams said.
According to the Medical Examiner's report, three days later, Ralston's mother "walked the wooded area (behind the fenced-in backyard at Wendy Ralston's residence) and came across what appeared to be a duffel bag with an odor exuding from within it."
She reported the discovery in person at the police department, just as she did on Aug. 7, Williams said.
Two Tallmadge police officers went to the home, saw what appeared to be human remains and notified the Medical Examiner's Officer.
An investigator from that office confirmed the remains were of two people were found on the bag "wrapped in a comforter and a dark blue sheet," according to the report.
Gary Guenther, investigation supervisor at the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, said the remains of Wendy and Peyton Ralston were badly decomposed when they were discovered. Forensic specialists are trying to determine a time and cause of death.
Dental records were used to identify the remains.
Police have been going through the home and wooded area behind it. The residence has been under constant security, Williams said.
Monday, investigators towed Wendy Ralston's SUV from the single-car garage and her boyfriend's SUV from the driveway for examination and so that investigators could use the garage as a "staging area" for evidence collected from the rest of the house, Williams said.
He said over the next few days investigators will be sorting through and analyzing the "substantial" amount of evidence found inside the home and the wooded area behind the house.
Williams said Wendy Ralston's boyfriend has been "very cooperative" with investigators.
Wendy Ralston also has a 13-year-old daughter, who lives with her grandmother about one mile away.
Tallmadge police are asking any tips be reported to Williams at 330-475-7638.
Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.