Cold Case Project: slayings of West Chester man and his dogs remain unsolved

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 4:05 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 4:05 PM

Former Proctor & Gamble employee George Gibson was killed in 2000. Watch this video for details about his case.

On his final afternoon, George Gibson left work early, without explanation.

Within a few hours, someone shot the Procter & Gamble researcher nine times in his West Chester home. The killer, who apparently broke in through a rear basement window, also killed Gibson’s two pet Bernese Mountain dogs, Hugo and Capella.

“We believe he received a phone call at his work that made him leave early,” said Det. Doug Farris, the latest to investigate the nearly 13-year-old cold case.

Gibson, 47, was shot to death June 22, 2000. His wife Paige Smith, also a Procter & Gamble researcher at the time, was in upstate New York on a business trip that day.

“It’s one of those things where nothing makes sense,” Smith said last week from Oxford, NY, where she now lives. “It’s so foreign to me. So unlikely that George would have a passionate enemy.”

Gibson is hardly the typical murder victim, Farris said, noting that “he did not have a high-risk lifestyle.”

Gibson graduated from Brown University, then received his degree in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University. After practicing in Vermont, he went to Cornell University, where he received a doctorate in pathology. While at Cornell, he met Smith, who was pursuing her doctorate in veterinary clinical nutrition there.

The couple moved from New York to the Cincinnati area about two years before the murder. Gibson worked at P&G’s Ross facility and Smith at the Mason branch.

Smith and Gibson’s sister, Judy, who lives in New York and did not want her last name used, both said that Gibson was a generous man, an animal lover and a pillar of the family. He helped people, was involved with his church and the Boy Scouts, even though he and Smith did not have children.

Gibson’s last day was a Thursday. Smith saw him before going to work. After work, she flew to Norwich, NY. Gibson was seen leaving work about 3:40 p.m., then seen arriving home around 5:20 p.m.

Smith became concerned after she could not reach Gibson by phone and, the next day, asked a neighbor to check on him. P&G employees had called police after Gibson did not arrive at work, and officers arrived just as the neighbors were about to enter the home. About 12:30, police found his body on the first floor of the home at 7165 Tylersville Road.

Gibson was shot seven times in the head, once in the neck and once in the chest. The killer fired at least five more shots at the dogs. One was found in the basement near the broken window. The other was found on the main floor.

Farris said that it appeared that someone sat Gibson down, had a talk with him, then executed him. He described the crime as “very personal.”

Nothing was missing from the home, though some things had been moved around, Farris said.

There were no suspects, and no known reason for Gibson’s slaying. But police found that Gibson had a secret life after a woman came forward and told them that she had met Gibson through a dating phone service. Police now believe Gibson had contact with several people through the service, Farris said.

Asked about the phone service, Smith said “I guess it’s possible,” but added that it didn’t sound like him. His sister said she found it nearly impossible and described Gibson as “very straight laced” and the couple as extremely close.

“We always said George and Paige together, like it was one word,” she said. “He and Paige had a very tight marriage. It seems unlikely to me.”

The two speculated that Gibson could have been the victim of a botched hit, in which a killer went to the wrong house, or that his generosity could have gotten him in trouble. On at least one occasion, Gibson helped a female acquaintance leave an abusive partner, they said.

“I could see him trying to help someone who was in trouble,” the sister said.

But Farris said that evidence found at the scene points more closely to the dating service, though he declined to say what that evidence was.

His family members said that they just want to know what happened to Gibson, and why.

“It would be wonderful to have some sort of explanation,” his sister Judy said. “We’ll grieve him all our lives, but at least we’d know what happened.”

Anyone with information about the slaying of George Gibson is asked to call West Chester 513-759-7272 or Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP.

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Fifth woman from similar background is missing from Middletown

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:17 AM

4 women are missing from Middletown

Middletown police are continuing to look for Julie Kakaris, who told her father via phone messages that she was being held against her will.

Officers were called to the residence of Kakaris’ father on Tuesday afternoon on a report that she was possibly being held against her will at an apartment complex.

Paul Bilunka said he received messages from his daughter last Monday that two to three men were holding her in an apartment and forcing her to do drugs, according to the police report. She asked him to pick her up because she was scared, but in a later conversation she asked him not to do so.

FIRST REPORT: Police looking for woman reportedly held against her will

Officers checked possible locations for Kakaris on Tuesday and have been checkout leads ever since, according to Major Scott Reeve.

“We have knocked on doors and talked to people, but we haven’t found her,” Reeve said. “We are concerned.”

Four other women with similar backgrounds remain missing from Middletown. The police department has enlisted the help the the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to locate the women or leads on their whereabouts.

MORE: Lindsay Bogan: Middletown police discuss theories in woman’s death

The four women missing from Middletown are:

• Brandy English, 41, missing May 11, 2016 from Middletown

• Amber Flack, 30, missing Sept. 1, 2016 from Middletown

• Melinda (Oney) Miller, 47, missing Feb. 19, 2017 from Middletown

• Michelle Burgan, 47, missing May 16, 2017 from Middletown

Additionally, two others missing along the I-75/71 corridor could be connected.

They are:

• Amber Whitmer, 30, missing June 6, 2016 from Springfield

• Chelsey Coe, 25, reported missing in August from Miamisburg

Reeve said in recent weeks Middletown detectives have traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. and and Louisville, Ky. following leads on English, but had not luck finder her.

“It is difficult and frustrating trying to find these ladies because the don’t have a permanent address and have a lifestyles that makes them vulnerable,” Reeve said.

MORE: Middletown woman helping police in Lindsay Bogan case now missing

Reeve said all the women are adults with a history of drug abuse, and some were homeless and had a history of prostitution.

Detectives said it is possible English’s disappearance could be related to Lindsay Bogan, who went missing from Middletown two years ago and whose skeletal remains were found more than a year ago in a field on a Madison Twp. farm. Her death remains unsolved.

English made it known to others she was helping police in their investigation of Bogan’s death, police told this news outlet in 2016. There have been no sightings of English since her disappearance.

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Your questions answered about the opioid epidemic

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

What You Need To Know: Opioids

Many who attended the recent forums on opioids held throughout the Miami Valley by Your Voice Ohio and this newspaper submitted questions about the epidemic. Here are some of the answers to those questions.

RELATED: A whole new life:' Local people share their path out of the depths of addiction, and into long-term recovery.

Q: How are the drugs coming into our country?

A variety of ways. Heroin may first enter the country through underground tunnels or in secret compartments hollowed out of car panels or welded into semi-trailer truck frames. At times, a dealer simply schedules a pickup with FedEx and plays the odds that a shipment will make it through.

Sometimes it comes in through a drug courier’s bowels, as mules are paid to carry balloons of heroin over the border on foot or through an airport.

Regardless of how it’s delivered, authorities say most of the heroin purchased in southwest Ohio — and in America today — is trafficked by violent criminal organizations based in one country: Mexico.

“To get a kilo of heroin in the Dayton area five years ago, that was a lot of heroin. Nowadays it’s not,” said Tim Plancon, assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Ohio Columbus District Office.

Fentanyl — heroin’s more potent cousin, which is responsible for the large spike in deaths in the region seen in 2016 and 2017 — comes mainly through the mail from China.

Chinese authorities place little emphasis on controlling fentanyl production or export because the synthetic opioid is not widely used in China.

Participants at the Your Voice Ohio opioid forum discuss their thoughts about the causes and solutions to the area’s drug epidemic at the downtown Dayton Metro Library, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. DOUG OPLINGER/Contributed(Staff Writer)

The fentanyl is sometimes difficult to trace because it arrives through a range of products that include fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription drugs like oxycodone.

Authorities say Chinese chemical exporters get around U.S. laws by exploiting unregulated online ordering systems, mislabeling shipments, and modifying banned substances to create yet-illegal substances.

READ MORE: How Mexican drug cartels move heroin to Miam Valley street corners

Q: What are the true demographics of the addict population?

Final 2017 overdose numbers including demographic info on those who died aren’t available yet, but the 2016 numbers show the wide range of ages, races and cities affected by the epidemic.

In Montgomery County in 2016, the youngest to die was 2-year-old Lee Hays, who somehow got hold of fentanyl. The oldest was a 79-year-old man. Eighty percent were white; 64 percent were men. Dayton had the most deaths with 162, but people also overdosed and died in 20 other communities including Brookville, Clayton, Miamisburg, Oakwood and Washington Twp.

RELATED: 5 reasons why officials point to China in the deadly fentanyl pipeline

Q: Why is there not more focus on alternative medicines to opioids?

It has been shown that opioid addictions can start when undergoing treatment for short-term pain. Additionally, the use of opioids during short-term treatment has increased in the past few years.

To avoid the risk of addiction, researchers have explored using tylenol and ibuprofen for pain rather than opiates. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that on patients with broken bones and sprains, acetaminophen and ibuprofen worked as well as opioids at reducing severe pain.

The study notes that a pill combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen affects different pain receptors in the body, and can be highly effective. Pills that combine the two drugs are not yet available in the United States, and it’s also important to note that this study only looked at short-term pain relief in the emergency room.

Using ibuprofen and acetaminophen may not be ideal for long term use, according to Good Rx. 

Q: What about medical marijuana?

While using marijuana to treat pain may have less mainstream approval than other treatments, a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine shows it can be effective in reducing neuropathic pain, a form of chronic pain that can cause damaged nerve endings.

Cannabinoids are seen by many doctors as actually “safer” than prescribing opioids, PBS reports. There are lower rates of addiction, and they don’t affect the brain stem. That means when using cannabis, your breathing and other basic life support functions are not affected, avoiding the risk of fatal overdoses.

Dr. Jordan Tishler, who handled emergency medicine at the Boston VA, states that most patients only need low doses of cannabis to treat chronic pain: “The amount they find relief with is nowhere near what laypeople recommend to each other or what recreational users take.”

Ohio’s medical marijuana program is set to launch later this year.

Q: How do people get hooked on opioids?

A 2013 study examining national-level general population heroin data — including those in and not in treatment — found that nearly 80 percent of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin. We also know that roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.

When someone suffers from chronic pain, their body is constantly sending pain signals to their brain; which doesn’t allow their body to produce enough natural endorphins. At this point, a doctor would prescribe an opioid medication. Now the opioids and their natural endorphins can both land on their nerve receptors.

Next, the brain cells that have opioid receptors on them gradually become less responsive to the opioid stimulation. Once someone develops a tolerance, withdrawal symptoms begin to occur if a higher dosage is not given. Repeated exposure to escalating doses of opioids alters the brain so that it functions more or less normally when the drugs are present and abnormally when they are not. Therefore, even more opioid intake becomes necessary to produce pleasure comparable to that provided in any previous drug-taking episodes.

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3-year-old girl allegedly assaulted by her babysitter has died

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:28 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 3:41 PM

UPDATE: 3-year-old girl allegedly shaken by babysitter was found with bruises on her head and face

A 3-year-old girl died Sunday, just a few days after her babysitter was indicted on charges of felonious assault and felony child endangering.

Hannah Wesche was essentially “brain dead” at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, her father, Jason Wesche, previously said. She was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m., he said via a post made late Sunday morning on GoFundMe page #Hannahstrong#JusticeforHannah at

As of 3:40 p.m. Sunday, the page had raised $8,332 of its $15,000 goal.

Lindsay Partin, who is accused of assaulting the 3-year-old child while in her care March 8, was free on bond Thursday after being arraigned on a felony indictment Thursday afternoon.

MORE: Babysitter accused of assaulting toddler free on bond and back in court next month

Partin, 35, of the 4000 block of Shank Road in Hanover Twp., was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on charges of felonious assault and felony child endangering. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens set bond at $75,000 at her arraignment.

Partin was free on bond at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. She is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on April 9.

At about 7 a.m. March 8, Hanover Twp. emergency crews and Butler County detectives responded to Partin’s residence for an unconscious child. They found Hannah unresponsive with labored breathing, according to the sheriff’s office. There were obvious bruises about her head and face.

MORE: 911 call in alleged babysitter assault: “Hannah breathe. Breathe for Daddy”

The girl was taken by medical helicopter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. After further investigation, detectives and hospital personnel noted additional bruising on the child’s body.

Partin admitted to striking the child and stated she had fallen and struck her head on the concrete garage floor the previous day.

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Multiple shots fired at MJs Fish and Chips in Dayton

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

The owner of MJ’s Fish and Chips arrived Saturday to find that someone fired multiple shots into the building.

Surveillance footage from the restaurant at 1600 W. Riverview Ave. showed that just after 1 a.m. a maroon small sport-utility vehicle, possibly a Kia Sportage, slowly drove south in the wrong direction of Paul Laurence Dunbar Avenue. The SUV briefly paused in front of the store before leaving the area.

>> Customer threatens clerk with gun after he calls him the N-word

At 1:45 a.m., Dayton police officers are seen checking the area after someone reported hearing several shots fired.

Police discovered 11 bullet holes: six in the window to the west of the doorway; three in the sign above the door; and two in the door.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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