Warren County rape cold case solved after more than 16 years

Published: Thursday, December 21, 2017 @ 10:34 AM

Brian L. Sundin pleaded guilty today to a rape charge filed in connection with the sexual assault of a developmentally disabled woman in July 2000 in Warren County.
Staff Writer
Brian L. Sundin pleaded guilty today to a rape charge filed in connection with the sexual assault of a developmentally disabled woman in July 2000 in Warren County.(Staff Writer)

A Warren County man was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison for the rape of a developmentally disabled adult woman more than 16 years ago.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tennessee man pleads guilty to 2000 rape in Warren County

Brian Sundin, 58, formerly of Mason, was also classified a sexual predator by Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Peeler.

RELATED: DNA match prompts arrest in 16-year-old Warren County rape case

In October, Sundin plead guilty to one count of rape, a first-degree felony, for the 2000 rape of a severely developmentally disabled adult female resident at the Brookside Extended Care Center in Mason.

Sundin is believed to have made entry to the facility through a single doorway that was discovered to be unsecured at the time.

The female victim died in 2011, but at the time of the alleged rape, she was non-verbal, functioned at the level of an infant, and required total support for all necessary life functions and activities, according to a press release from the Warren County prosecutor’s office.

The case had been unsolved for more than 16 years until officials from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office tested a diaper and, in addition to blood, discovered the presence of semen. State officials tested the semen for DNA, entered the DNA testing results into the nationwide CODIS database, and the testing results “hit” a match with Sundin’s DNA profile that was entered by the Florida Department of Corrections.

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Deputy injured, suspect in custody after 2-hour standoff in Champaign Co.

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 6:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:59 PM

Officer hurt vid

UPDATE @ 9:06 p.m: One person is in custody after a police standoff that occurred at a residence in Champaign County Sunday evening.

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According to officials, they were called out to a residence near the 100 block of East Dallas Road for a complaint around 6 p.m. The suspect just happened to be in the area where police were called and ran when they arrived, prompting officials to chase after him.

A struggle with one of the deputies occurred after they caught up with the suspect, which resulted in the official being hit in the forehead, reportedly with handcuffs, causing injury. 

With the officer down, the suspect then ran inside of the East Dallas Road address with handcuffs on, barricading himself. 

Police were in a standoff outside the residence for over two hours, using a bullhorn to try and get the suspect to come outside. He eventually was brought out of the residence in handcuffs.

The deputy was taken to a local hospital. No word on his condition.

There were more than 20 cruisers and fire vehicles at the scene, which was blocked at U.S. 68.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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Police: Driver apprehended after pursuit ‘didn’t want to deal’ with speeding violation and drove off

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:31 PM


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UPDATED AT 4:26 p.m.

A Butler County man pulled over by police for a speeding violation this morning in Preble County’s village of Gratis allegedly couldn’t be bothered with staying still to receive a ticket.

“He pulled over briefly and told the officer that he didn’t want to deal with it and drove off,” Gratis Police Chief Jeff King told this news organization.

King said the driver led police from three departments — Gratis Police Department, Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Butler County Sheriff’s Office — on a slow-speed pursuit that never exceeded 35 mph.

The nearly 13-mile pursuit ended in Madison Twp. when the driver reached his residence on Corlee Lane, King said.

Robert L. Petitjean II, 49, was charged with failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer, according to Gratis Police Department.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 12:31 p.m. Sunday

A chase that started in Preble County this morning continued into Butler County before the driver was apprehended.

The pursuit started at 10:03 a.m. at East South and East Franklin streets in the village of Gratis and continued down Browns Runs Road, with Gratis Police Department, Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Butler County Sheriff’s Office tracking the vehicle. It lasted until the suspect was arrested near Corlee Lane, just west of Ohio 4.

There’s no word yet on the driver’s name and age or why he sought to elude police.

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Oxford police troll kids busted for handing cops fake IDs

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 1:41 PM

Miami University. FILE
Miami University. FILE

Police near Miami University seized at least 16 reportedly fake IDs Friday night.

The Oxford Police Department posted an image on Twitter of the allegedly fraudulent IDs.

“We didn’t get invited to any parties so we went Uptown last night,” the department posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all those that tried to pass Fake IDs to officers last night.”

PHOTOS: See photos of $1.89M mansion built by Charles F. Kettering

REPORT: Pike County Murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no answers

The tweet had been shared 65 times and liked more than 500 times, as of this story’s publication.

The IDs appear to be from all over the nation, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Vermont, Maryland, and Maine. At least one appears to be from Ohio.

Pictures and other details, like addresses and ID numbers, are visible in the photo, prompting some users on Twitter to call out the department.

“Nothing like promoting identity theft…” said one user.

“Wow, how crappy of you to take something that is probably embarrassing and make a joke out of it,” said another. “Funny how you don’t do that for all of your arrests. What makes you so mean today?”

It’s not clear how the department ensured there were no legitimate identity theft victims included in the array of photographs. Oxford police did not immediately respond to emailed questions from this news organization seeking that information.

Also unclear is whether any of the individuals were charged.

Police departments across the country have used Twitter and other social media as a humorous outreach tool to build relationships with the community. This news organization’s partners at WCPO-TV Cincinnati reported last month that Oxford Police have “noticed less hesitance from civilians” since the social media outreach began.

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Pike County murders: 3 big questions, 2 years later

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were killed and two childrens’ lives spared in their mobile home on Union Hill Rd. in 2016. Two years after the murder of eight Rhoden family members in rural Pike County, the crime remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were killed and two childrens’ lives spared in their mobile home on Union Hill Rd. in 2016. Two years after the murder of eight Rhoden family members in rural Pike County, the crime remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Two years after eight people were murdered in their homes in Pike County, Ohio, the shooting deaths remain unsolved.

Hannah Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife, Dana Rhoden, 37; their sons, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Frankie’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20; and relatives Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and Gary Rhoden, 38 died in the shootings.

FULL REPORT: Pike County Murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no answers

1. What happened to the family in Alaska?

Last June, DeWine announced he was “laser focused” on members of the Wagner family, a family in Kenai, Alaska who formerly lived near the Rhodens in Ohio. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and other agencies executed search warrants at their former residence.

The Wagners appeared to still be in Alaska as of December, when, according to Alaska court records, Edward Jacob “Jake” Wagner, 25, pleaded no contest to a speeding ticket issued in Soldotna, about a three hour drive south of Anchorage.

» Who are the Wagners? Pike County murders investigators want to know

Wagner fathered a daughter with Hannah Rhoden, one of the victims, but DeWine has not named him or three other family members — George “Billy” Wagner, his wife, Angela, and their other son, George — as suspects.

The Wagners “continue to be saddened by the loss of the Rhodens,” John Kearson Clark Jr., the family’s attorney, told this newspaper this month. “Especially with each passing year, and yet the case is not resolved.”

“Despite what has been said and alleged, the Wagners were on friendly terms with the Rhodens,” Clark said by email. “Therefore, the Wagners had no reason to wish them harm.”

2. What happened to James Manley, the brother arrested for alleged tampering?

In May, authorities arrested James Manley, the brother of victim Dana Manley Rhoden, on charges of evidence tampering and vandalism after allegedly destroying a GPS tracker placed on his car during the investigation.

A Pike County judge dismissed the charges against Manley so that evidence could be presented to a grand jury. There have been no announcements since of any grand jury action.

» Pike County murders: ‘There will always be a scar on this town’

Manley’s attorney, James Boulger, and Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk did not respond to requests for comment.

“I have nothing I can say about that,” DeWine said when asked about Manley’s case.

3. Will the next attorney general keep the investigation as a top priority? 

Because officials have characterized the case as the largest criminal inquiry in Ohio history, the two candidates to become Ohio’s next attorney general - DeWine leaves office in January - face the decision of whether they would continue to consider solving the Pike County murders as the office’s number one priority.

» Pike County murder victims: A closer look at the 8 who died

“Anyone who would predict this nine months before taking office, without seeing the evidence and understanding the posture of the investigation at that time, is a fool, or a poltroon, or both — and not fit for the office of attorney general,” said Dave Yost, the Ohio auditor and Republican candidate for attorney general, in an email.

Yost’s Democratic opponent, Steve Dettelbach, held his cards even closer.

“I’ve spent two decades as a prosecutor,” Dettelbach, the former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio, said by text message. “I don’t and won’t politicize an important murder investigation.”

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