Almost a week after the family of Wendy and Peyton Ralston said goodbye to the mother and son during a memorial service, police have the woman's ex-boyfriend and boy's father in custody as a suspect in their deaths.
Tallmadge police, with the help of the Akron Bureau of Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, arrested Daniel T. Tighe of Akron on Thursday.
Tighe, 39, is charged with aggravated murder in the death of Peyton, 5, and murder in the death of Wendy Ralston, 31, as well as felony domestic violence. Police expect additional charges will be filed.
Tighe will be held at the Summit County Jail until his first court appearance via video in Stow Municipal Court. The arraignment wasn't scheduled by press time.
Police arrested Tighe without incident in Akron, where he was staying in a camper since the remains of the pair were found in a wooded area behind their Stone Creek Drive home on Aug. 10.
Police became aware they were missing when a neighbor reported that they hadn't been seen since July 31, but when police spoke with Tighe at the residence, officers said they didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Tighe lived with Wendy and Peyton Ralston at the Stone Creek Drive home at the time they were reported missing, police said.
Marie Ralston reported her daughter missing on Aug. 7, telling police she last heard from her on July 22 when Wendy posted a message on Facebook. One minute after Marie's report, Tighe reported Wendy and Peyton missing.
Three days later, Marie Ralston found the bodies, which were wrapped in a bedsheet and comforter inside a duffel bag, while searching the dense wooded area.
The Medical Examiner's Office identified the first set of remains as Wendy Ralston on Aug. 12 and the second as Peyton one day later. Police said no weapons were found, but it was likely Wendy and Peyton were killed in their home.
Forensic experts at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, including an anthropologist and entomologist, examined the bodies as part of the police investigation with the hope of determining a time and cause of death.
The medical examiner has not yet released an official cause of death.
Marie and her ex-husband, Bill Ralston, both of Tallmadge, were raising Wendy Ralston's 13-year-old daughter, who remains in their care.
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Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.