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Identity of Kent area murder victim confirmed

By STEPHANIE UJHELYI | ALLIANCE Review Published: January 19, 2014 4:00 AM
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An autopsy confirmed that a body discovered Friday in a Kent area apartment was that of a missing 22-year-old Alliance man, as information continues to emerge as his accused killer sits in jail.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak confirmed Saturday that the Summit County Medical Examiner confirmed that the victim, who was wrapped in a comforter and discovered in a closet of a Storer Suites' apartment Friday, was indeed Justin Tyler Earley, as suspected by Alliance police officers investigating Earley's disappearance late last month.

John R. Fox, 34, of Kent is being held without bond in the Portage County Jail pending his arraignment for murder Tuesday in Portage County Municipal Court.

Fox was taken into custody Friday evening without incident, after police observed him walking along Hayes Road in Ravenna Township.

Tom Decker, chief investigator with the Portage County Coroner's Office, said Earley's identity was confirmed through fingerprints.

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He and Doak declined to comment further on the autopsy results, including the cause or manner of death, with Decker adding that toxicology and other test results still were pending.

Earley's body was discovered in Fox's apartment at Storer Suites, 1783 E. Main St., which is located in Franklin Township, just outside of Kent's eastern city limits.

Alliance police had initiated the investigation just before New Year's Day when friends of Earley grew concerned after he failed to contact them after allegedly meeting an unidentified man near Kent on Dec. 30, according to Alliance police Lt. John Jenkins, who heads that department's Detective Bureau.

Detectives Don Wensel and Mark Welsh of the department's Criminal Investigation Unit spent several days in Portage County, after linking Earley to Fox through subpoened phone records, emails and a Craigslist online ad.

On Friday afternoon, Alliance police, Portage County Sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement executed a search warrant on Fox's apartment, making the gruesome find in a closet.

This is the second murder in Portage County in the past month, and Fox is the third person to be charged with taking a life in the same time period.

Joseph E. Thornton, 48, of 9889 S. Chapel St., Windham, is charged with the Christmas Day murder of his nephew, Jason R. Canan, 39, in the home they shared.

Timothy T. Sullivan, 25, of 9142 Maplegrove Road, also in Windham, was indicted in the death of his daughter, Scarlett Ariel Sullivan, who died in August at age two-and-a-half months

Fox has a lengthy criminal history which includes time in an Ohio prison.

His younger brother, Joseph W. Fox, was sentenced in October 2012 to life without parole at the Ohio State Peniteniary for the murder of Pamela Fox, the brothers' 56-year-old mother, in her Ravenna home.

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daveobrien Jan 21, 2014 4:24 PM

sowhat - John Fox is a registered sex offender in Portage County, and we have reported that fact. He is on the Portage County Sheriff's Office registered sex offender list.

See this story: http://staging.recordpub.com/news%20local/2014/01/21/did-john-lure-victim-to-portage-county-through-online-ad

Dave O'Brien

ARayOfSunshine Jan 21, 2014 10:49 AM

If John Fox served time in prison for unlawful sexual conduct, why wasn't he a registered sex offender?



cents Jan 19, 2014 9:39 AM

wonder if the "Llama" (L.T.) Johnson is investigating?  Hopefully him and Major "CHAOS" Dale Kelly are miles away from this one!

sebringtwo Jan 19, 2014 9:36 AM

Mr editor  u forgot to lock this story out


sebringtwo Jan 19, 2014 9:34 AM

No lock out on this story.......why not...............