Court records: Phone data shows murder suspect within feet of where body found near Yellow Springs

Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 @ 1:20 PM

The Little Miami River upstream from where Leonid Clark's body was found from the Grinnell Road bridge.
Richard Wilson
The Little Miami River upstream from where Leonid Clark's body was found from the Grinnell Road bridge.(Richard Wilson)

The murder suspect in the Leonid Clark homicide case was near where the victim's body was found the night he disappeared, according to the statement of facts on file with Xenia Municipal Court.

The Dayton Daily News requested and obtained the records relevant to the arrest of 26-year-old Zyrian Sky Atha-Arnett in the death of Clark, who went missing in January and whose body was discovered by the Little Miami River in April.

>> RELATED: Murder suspect had ‘hit/miss’ relationship with Yellow Springs victim

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Investigators with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation gathered records of Google searches, smartphone tracking and text messages to zero in on Atha-Arnett, according to the statement of facts by Capt. Sean Magoteaux.

Zyrian Sky Atha-Arnett

 

Atha-Arnett appeared this morning via video conferencing for an initial court hearing in Xenia Municipal Court. Atha-Arnett is being held in the Greene County Jail on suspicion of murder and aggravated felonious assault. Judge Michael Murry set bond at $750,000, according to the proceedings.

The court records show investigators tracked Atha-Arnett’s smartphone on the night of Jan. 13. The cell tower data indicates the suspect was within 200 feet of the river where Clark’s body was eventually found in the Glen Helen Nature Preserve.

Underneath the Grinnell Road bridge

“The records from January 13, 2019 show Zyrian went to the location near where Lonya was found from 8:45 p.m. to 10:20 p.m.,” Magoteaux’s statement of facts reads.

In addition, Atha-Arnett's coworkers in Enon told investigators the suspect had numerous injuries when he reported to work three days later on Jan. 16. 

Those injuries included scratches on his arms and chest, bruises around his neck, injured knuckles, a twisted ankle and a half-inch cut on his hand that was “actively bleeding,” the court records show.

Atha-Arnett left work to get treatment for the cut at an urgent care facility, where he allegedly told the doctor he cut himself on a knife three days prior, according to the statement of facts.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant at Zyrian Sky Atha-Arnett's apartment he shared with his father in Enon on Sept. 20.(Richard Wilson)

Preliminary findings from Clark’s autopsy indicates he died from multiple stab wounds and suffered defensive wounds on his hands and arms. 

Clark was well-known as “Lonya” or “Leo” in the village of Yellow Springs. 

Leonid Clark and Atha-Arnett were friends but their relationship was marked by periods in which they were on friendly terms and times when they were not get along well, according to Leonid’s father Eric Clark.

Magoteaux also reported that phone records show that Atha-Arnett and Leonid Clark exchanged 49 calls and texts between Dec. 24, 2018 to the day Clark disappeared, and that Clark did not respond to any calls or texts after 8:28 p.m.  

The phone records indicate Atha-Arnett did not try to call or text Clark after Jan. 13, according to the statement of facts.

Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said his department has devoted hundreds of hours in the investigation. He credited the state’s BCI unit for their assistance and resources in being able to make an arrest.

“BCI played a tremendous role in helping us get to where we’re at today,” Fischer said. “The capabilities that the crime lab has is unbelievable.”

The felony case will eventually be transferred from municipal court to the county. Evidence is expected to be presented to a county grand jury for consideration on an indictment of formal charges.