Diamond ring could lead police to killer of Monroe woman

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 4:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 4:00 PM

A diamond ring could be the key that leads detectives to the killer of 87-year-old Barbara Howe, the Middletown Journal has learned.

The missing ring — Mrs. Howe’s wedding ring of more than one karat — has been a focus of investigators’ three-month homicide probe and could be the key to finding the person, or persons, responsible for killing the Monroe woman and placing her body in the trunk of her red Cadillac.

“It was her signature piece, and it is missing,” Monroe police Detective Gregg Myers told the Journal in an interview. “She always wore it. It was her favorite. It was not with her, and it is not in her house.”

Myers stopped short of saying robbery was the motive for Howe’s slaying. He said taking the ring could have been a crime of opportunity after the fact. Myers noted that when Howe was found, she had other jewelry on her person that was not disturbed.

He said whoever took Howe’s ring may have taken the large diamond out of the setting as a way to sell the gem. Police have been scouring area pawn shops and other avenues that could be used to sell the diamond.

“The ring is important to the investigation,” Myers said.

Police have released few details concerning the Howe investigation. They haven’t said where or how she was killed, and have even kept her family members from viewing or burying her body or entering her home, a cottage at Mount Pleasant Retirement Village.

Even within the police department, some details of the case “are on a need-to-know basis,” Monroe police Lt. Brian Curlis has said. The diamond ring represents the first significant piece of evidence from the investigation that police have revealed.

Howe’s daughter, Donna Wesselman of Cincinnati, said family members always suspected that robbery might be the motive behind her mother’s death and asked police early on if they had found Howe’s wedding ring along with her body.

“They didn’t answer,” Wesselman said, adding she believed then the diamond had been taken.

Wesselman said she didn’t know her mother’s ring was missing until she was contacted Wednesday by the Journal. She said Howe always wore the ring or had it close by.

Monroe police were aided by Middletown police and state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation early on in the investigation and say they continue to receive tips.

Curlis said more the 100 DNA samples have been taken from people investigators have talked with. Investigators are also processing evidence from at least three crime scenes — Howe’s home, her car and the parking lot of Woodridge Apartments in Middletown where she was found in the trunk of her car on Nov. 1.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said last week “there is potentially another crime scene,” though he would not disclose the location.

Howe, who was born in Hamilton, dedicated her life to her husband, Bill, and three daughters, and enjoyed cooking, sewing, traveling, playing tennis and reading. She was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, Middletown Symphony Women’s Association, Cotillion Mixers, and a former member of Brown’s Run Country Club and Wildwood Golf Club.

Her husband of 51 years owned and operated Howe Motor Co. in Middletown.

Kettering OVI checkpoints lead to one arrest, multiple citations 

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:05 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 11:40 PM

Sobriety checkpoints are tonight and Saturday night during Memorial Day Weekend in Kettering. The purpose is to deter and to intercept drivers operating a vehicle while intoxicated. TODD JACKSON / STAFF

UPDATE @ 3:47 a.m.

Kettering police made one OVI arrest and issued multiple citations in a moving OVI checkpoint Friday night and Saturday morning. 

Over 350 cars passed through the checkpoints that took place in the 3100 block of Woodman Drive and the 2800 block of East Dorothy Lane. 

According to a release from Kettering police, two citations were issued for seat belt violations, one for expired registration. 

Police also said the checkpoints resulted in one summons for open container of alcohol and another for possession of drugs. 

Kettering police and the Montgomery County Combined Agency OVI Task Force teamed up for the checkpoints.


Police are cracking down on drinking and driving this Memorial Day Weekend.

Kettering police officers on Friday held two OVI checkpoints and will return Saturday night for sobriety checkpoints to deter and intercept those operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The moving checkpoint is scheduled from 9 to 11 p.m. in the north lanes in front of 3018 Woodman Drive and 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the west lanes in front of 2841 E. Dorothy Lane. These locations are where the highest number of OVI crashes happen in the city, police said.

“We’ll be bringing them into the checkpoint and checking for signs of impairment. Anything from slurred speech to the way their eyes are operating,” Kettering police Lt. Lee Sanders said.

Kettering police want drivers to know they’re watching, and will be out in full force this weekend.

“We want to make sure we’re encouraging people not to drink and drive, make sure they make good decisions,” Sanders said.

Woodman Drive had the most OVI crashes in 2016 in the city.

“If you’re feeling the effects of alcohol you’re likely too intoxicated to be driving,” Sanders said.

Memorial Day Weekend is the busiest road travel weekends in the country.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will nearly double its patrols.

“We want everyone to get from point A to point B safely,” Sgt. Matt Schmenk of the patrol’s Xenia Post said.

Extra patrols, and the patrol’s Click it or Ticket campaign to boost seat belt usage, are part of its effort to prevent deadly crashes.

“That’s the main mission for us,” Schmenk said.

The OVI checkpoints are funded by federal, state and local grants. Police agencies are required by state law to publicize the checkpoints ahead of time.

GOT A TIP? Contact the 24-hour line, 937-259-2237 or newsdesk@coxinc.com

Power restored to thousands of DP&L customers

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 12:40 AM

Courtesy DP&L Outage Center

UPDATE @ 2:45 a.m.

Power has been restored to a majority of DP&L customers in multiple area counties, according to a DP&L. 

349 homes remain without power in Greene County while a smattering of outages persist in other areas. 

Greene County dispatchers said power was out for over 4,600 Saturday morning as a result of storm damage and a crash on Jasper Road in New Jasper Twp. 

Dispatchers said only one car was involved in the crash and it is unknown if anyone was injured.

UPDATE @ 1:38 a.m.

Thousands of DP&L customers are without power following a strong storm system that moved through the area Friday night. 

Over 4,600 homes in Greene County are without power, while nearly 2,000 are in the dark in Montgomery County. 

Nearly 1,200 are without power in Clark County, according to a DP&L outage map. 

Greene County dispatchers said a single-car crashed into a high tension power pole on Jasper Road in New Jasper Twp. 

Jasper Road has been closed between Long Road and Paintersville New Jasper Road, according to dispatchers. 

Dispatchers said a DP&L crew is arriving at the scene and power is expected to be out for some time. 

A spokesperson for the utility provider was not immediately available for comment. 

We are will continue to monitor regional outages as we work to learn when power will be restored.


Nearly 2,000 DP&L customers in Montgomery County are without power, according to a DP&L outage map. 

A handful of additional outages have been reported in Greene, Darke, and Miami Counties. 

RELATED: Strong storms move through region Friday night

We are working to learn what caused the outages and when power is expected to return.

UD Arena removes tartan floor as part of $72M upgrade

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 6:17 PM

After more than a decade of service, the old tartan floor from the UD Arena is getting prepped to be dismantled.

This comes as the University of Dayton is planning several upgrades to the arena over the next few years that will total $72 million to the venue at 1801 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. in Dayton.

One last unofficial game took place today on the court, as alumni paid their last respects before work began on the floor. 

The court was done seeing action in the 1980s. Removal will start over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, fans will not be able to own pieces of the old floor because there is still mercury in it, which means the floor poses a risk and will have to be disposed of properly and safely. 

GOT A TIP? Call the 24-hour news line at 937-259-2237 or newsdesk@coxinc.com 

5th tornado confirmed in neighboring Miami Valley county

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:53 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:22 AM

A fifth tornado touched down Wednesday in Warren, in addition to the two that hit in Clark County, one in Fayette County and one in Miami County.

Tornadoes were confirmed in the following locations:

  • EF-1 confirmed in Park Layne
  • EF-0 confirmed near Medway
  • EF-1 confirmed near Piqua
  • EF-0 confirmed in Fayette County

UPDATE @ 2:52 p.m.:

A fifth tornado is reported to have touched down in the region during Wednesday night’s storm, according to the National Weather Service. 

An EF0 tornado briefly touched down in Warren County, in a field four miles north of Harveysburg, according to the NWS.

UPDATE @ 1:30 p.m. (May 26)

In addition to three tornadoes that hit the Miami Valley on Wednesday, a fourth tornado touched down in neighboring Fayette County, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

The EF-0 tornado touched down in the extreme western portion of Fayette County, based on radar data, video evidence and eyewitness reports, according to the weather service.

The tornado had wind gusts of 50 mph, was 25 yards wide and traveled approximately three miles, according to the weather service. it dissipated about four miles southeast of Jamestown.

The tornado traveled primarily through empty farm fields and did not left little damage, according to the weather service.


The National Weather Service has confirmed a third tornado touched down near Medway in Clark County.

Maximum sustained winds for the tornado were 75 mph and it was said to be on the ground for 500 yards, the weather service said.

The tornado touched down on Lower Valley Pike near Princeton Drive, just southwest of the I-70 and Ohio 235 interchange.

Several manufactured homes sustained roof and siding damage and two large trees fell on and destroyed homes on Cordova Drive at McMahan’s Fairview Terrace Mobile Home Park.

RELATED: Multiple mobile homes damaged by downed trees in Clark County

Several homes on Wellington Avenue had mud splattered on the north or east side of the homes, showing evidence of rotation, the weather service said.

According to the weather service, carports and awnings also were destroyed.

The damage quickly lessened in strength further to the northwest with minimal damage along Jason Drive and no evidence of damage by Amy Dee Lane, NWS said.

UPDATE @ 3:46 p.m.:

A second tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service approximately five miles southeast of Piqua.

The weather service said the maximum winds for the tornado near Piqua were estimated at 90 mph.

UPDATE @ 3:36 p.m.:

A tornado that caused damage in Park Layne and southeast Miami County had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and was on the ground for nearly four miles, the National Weather Service said.

Officials said the tornado first touched down in the western side of Park Layne as an EF-1 tornado, where damage occurred to some commercial buildings and trees.

RELATED: Businesses damaged in Park Layne

The maximum width of the tornado was 300 yards.

Additional tree damage and minor roof damage occurred along Bellefontaine Road to the northwest, the weather service said.

Sporadic damage, primarily to trees, was found farther to the northwest, ultimately ending along Ohio 201 north of Studebaker Road.

The damage near Studebaker Road was consistent with wind speeds of an EF-0 tornado, the weather service said.

Officials are expected to release additional details later this afternoon.

An EF-1 tornado is classified with wind speeds between 86 to 110 mph and an EF-0 tornado has wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph.

UPDATE @ 2:56 p.m. 

Bethel Twp. fire department official gave an update on the damage at Sunoco gas station. The hazard has been secured and no fuel was lost. The fuel tank valves have been secured.

Also, there are six families being assisted in this area of Park Layne.

There has been extensive damage to roofs on homes along Osborne Road, according to Bethel Twp. fire. The department was able to use a drone in the daylight to get a clearer picture of the damage. 

Clark County EMA is handling the damage assessment. 

Larry Shaffer, Clark County Combined Health District, said eight of 10 restaurants are back in business after the storms caused closures. 

The Mel-O-Dee restaurant could be closed for up to three weeks due to broken air conditioning units and a structural truss damaged. The Family Dollar that was damaged will also remain closed. 

Tom Hale, Clark County building official, said several businesses remain without power. 

UPDATE @ 10:06 a.m.

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado hit Park Layne Wednesday night.

The weather service estimated maximum winds for the tornado at 100 mph.

Additional details, including the path length and width on the Park Layne tornado will be released later today, NWS said.

UPDATE @ 9:49 a.m.:

The National Weather Service storm survey teams have arrived in Park Layne and are beginning their surveys of suspected tornado damage in Clark, Greene and Miami counties.

>>PHOTOS:  Storm damageStorms, funnel clouds

The National Weather Service will be out today to survey damage in Greene, Clark and Miami counties to determine the number, strength and exact locations of tornado touchdowns.

Two survey teams will begin today in Park Layne and then those teams will split up, with one going to Miami County and the other going to Greene County.

>>VIDEO: Funnel cloud over Fairborn

In a statement issued early this morning, weather service officials in Wilmington said some of these damage reports, reported by whio.com and News Center 7, include:  

  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Base security forces are checking for damage. “At this time, we do not know if a tornado touched down or not” on the base, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said. WPAFB weather casters issued a tornado warning at 8:33 p.m., which was extended twice more. An “all clear” has since been issued, she said.
  • In Greene County, several trees and power lines were reported down near Dayton Xenia and Trebein roads in the Xenia area.
  • In Miami County, a tornado may be responsible for barn debris, trees and wires in the street the 8000 block of Bellefontaine Road, according to the National Weather Service. The road is closed, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Dispatch.
  • In Miami County, trees and power lines down in Bethel Twp. at Bellefontaine Road, between U.S. 40 and Palmer Road.
  • In Beavercreek, a tornado may be possible for several trees and power lines reported down near Dayton Xenia and Trebein roads, according to the National Weather Service.
  • In Beavercreek, a tornado may be responsible for several trees down along Dayton Yellow Springs Road near Fairborn. 
  • In Miami County, two homes with structural damage near highway 201 at Studebaker Road.
  • In Miami County, Deweese Road at Peterson, closed because of power lines and trees down.
  • In Montgomery County, trees were reported down in the 8300 block of National Road

It is believed that a tornado or multiple tornadoes were responsible for the damage in certain locations in these 

counties, weather service officials said.  

There may be additional locations that require damage surveys that aren't listed above, weather service officials said. 

“We will be in contact with emergency managers from the affected counties to determine a specific plan for damage surveys, as well as assess the need for additional surveys in other locations,” weather service officials said in the statement.


Several tornadoes are being reported in Greene County tonight.

Here are some of the reports (all of these reports have to be verified by the National Weather Service):

>>RELATED: Xenia graduation at Nutter Center disrupted

>>VIDEOS: Sirens, wall clouds in Greene

  • One has been reported in Fairborn, reported by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • One has been reported, by weather spotters to the National Weather Service, in southwest Miami County
  • Another in the area of U.S. 35 at the split with the U.S. 35 Business Route near Xenia
  • Near Jeffersonville and the Jackson Twp. line in eastern Greene County

Jason Slyger, of Sabina, said he saw a tornado touch down near Jeffersonville and the Jackson Twp. line about 8:30 p.m. 

"You see the storm, you see a V and all of a sudden you see debris in the air," he said. 

We are hearing no reports of damage of injuries. 

We have been fielding reports of funnel and other threatening clouds. 

We will continue to update this report as warranted.