BCI joins to help with two unsolved cases

LISBON — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is helping investigate two unsolved homicide cases, starting with the 2012 murder of Melinda L. Todd.

“Investigators from my office have worked this case with the grim persistence, and a person of interest has been identified,” State Attorney General David Yost said in a news release issued Tuesday announcing their involvement in the case.

Yost is asking anyone with knowledge of her murder to contact the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) at 855-224-9446 or submit a tip online by going to the AG’s office website.

“We believe that there are members of the public with details pertaining to the case — now is the time to come forward and hold this killer accountable,” he concluded.

Todd, 43, was found beaten to death with a blunt instrument in her home on state Route 45 in Salem Township on Dec. 3, 2012. Injured in the attack was Todd’s grandson, who was 5 at the time and living with her. He was beaten about the head and had to undergo several surgeries and months of physical therapy.

The Todd homicide is one of two unsolved murder cases Columbiana County Sheriff Ray Stone asked the BCI’s cold case bureau to review in January 2016. The county originally wanted to submit four cases for review but were told BCI would only take two at a time.

Stone is grateful to BCI’s involvement, saying at the time of his request he wanted a second opinion — “a fresh set of eyes to review the evidence” — to determine whether his office has done everything it could.

“Of course, I appreciate any help we can get. That’s why we sent it to them,” he said.

Stone said BCI, his detectives and investigators from the county prosecutor’s office are to reinterview everyone interviewed in the Todd case, which has been done before, in the hopes of obtaining new information or the name of a new potential witness who could be of help.

AG Office spokesman Steve Irwin said BCI has been assisting with the Todd investigation for some time. “We feel we have a person of interest and we’re pushing for additional information,” he said.

Stone assumes the person of interest is the same one identified in their investigation.

The other case BCI accepted is that of William S. Young Jr., 69, who was found shot to death Aug. 10, 2010, in the woods behind his home on Spring Valley Road near Highlandtown Lake. Authorities found his body after being alerted by Huntington National Bank officials that someone posing as Young tried to cash a $3,500 check from his account at its Calcutta branch.

That person was determined to be Charles R. Bogart Jr., 44, who was identified as a person of interest in the murder after he was stopped while driving Young’s pickup truck and found to have Young’s wallet on him. Investigators found more of Young’s property at Bogart’s home on Hazel Run Road, Salineville. Then they found Young’s PT Cruiser parked across the road from Bogart’s property, obscured by high weeds and shrubs.

Bogart was later charged with receiving stolen property, forgery, identity theft and misuse of credit cards — 18 crimes in all, 17 in which Young was the victim. He entered an Alford plea to the charges, which is a guilty plea in which the defendant admits there is enough evidence to obtain a conviction but still maintains his innocence.

Bogart was sentenced to six years in prison in September 2011 and was released at the end of 2014 based on mandatory credit for time spent in the county jail while awaiting the outcome of all the charges against him.

Stone is hopeful the BCI’s involvement will result in indictments and convictions because he has more cases for them to review.