Mercer Sheriff ID’s victim in 2016 human remains case

CELINA — Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey identified the remains discovered at Grand Lake State Park in 2016 as belonging to a man reported missing out of Columbus several months before the bones were discovered.

Ryan R. Zimmerman, who would have been 22 at the time the remains were found, was identified as the victim in the homicide investigation.

Zimmerman’s human remains were found in the county in January 2016.

"We believe that this case is solvable,” Grey said. "We want to bring closure to the parents.”

Zimmerman had been reported missing to Columbus Police by his parents on Nov. 17, 2015 after his father received an impound notice about the car Zimmerman had been driving in Columbus. Zimmerman stopped talking to his parents on Sept. 27, 2015, Grey said.

>> PREVIOUS: Mercer County bones case still unsolved

Grey said Zimmerman moved to Columbus in August after meeting some people online.

Evidence showed Zimmerman’s body was severed at the head and spine. It also was severed from the knees and elbows down.

PREVIOUS: Bones found at Grand Lake State Park still not identified

Detectives were able to identify Zimmerman after an Ohio BCI agent became intrigued by the similarities in physical description of the bones found in the Mercer County case and Zimmerman’s missing person’s case.

While there was no DNA profile for Zimmerman at the time, his parents live in Corbin, Kentucky. Detectives were able to use their DNA to help make the positive identification in the case, Grey said.

Detectives met with Zimmerman’s family in Corbin last week and also worked with the Corbin Police Department on the case. Some items were collected as possible evidence, however Grey was not able to expound on what those items were.

Sheriff’s office investigators do have some persons of interest they’ve developed in the case and are working to locate them. His parents are not considered suspects, Grey said.

Grey said the sheriff’s office needs the public’s help with any information they may have about about Zimmerman or why he could have been in the Mercer County area. Anyone who may have information is asked to contact the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 419-586-1450 or anonymously at 567-890-8477.

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