Ohio coroner, Dr. Amy Joliff, who represents Wayne County, has found that Reann Murphy, the little girl who fell victim to murder and was found hidden in trash, was strangled to death with an unknown object. Reann, who lived in Smithville, which is approximately 30 miles southwest of Akron, was 9 years old and lived with her mother. They had moved into the trailer park where she was reported missing at the start of the school year this fall.
Reann was at home with her mother’s live-in boyfriend while her mother was at work on Saturday when she went outside to play in the snow with other children in the trailer park’s courtyard. After the other children went home, the suspect in her murder, Jerrod Metsker, pictured above, remained with Reann alone, making a snowman.
Metsker, described as an acquaintance of Reann by Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, reported the second-grader missing on Saturday. According to neighbors, he also helped to direct the search for Reann and grew impatient when she wasn’t quickly found.
Reann was last spotted playing outdoors at a park on Saturday night. Joining in the search to find her were officers, neighbors, and firefighters, who went door to door and investigated properties in the area. Her body was found early Sunday morning at about 1:35 a.m., just five hours after she was reported missing. Authorities discovered her body in a dumpster behind her family’s mobile home. The trash dump in which the dumpster is located is approximately 50 yards away from Metsker’s home.
Ohio murder victim Reann Murphy’s autopsy on Monday revealed that she had been strangled to death. Metsger was arrested on Sunday at the home he shares with his mother and sister. After ignoring repeated knocks on the door by deputies, they were able to obtain a key from a member of Metsker’s family.
Members of the Ohio community in which Reann Murphy lived held a vigil for her on Sunday night.
Neighbor Sheri Rose reported that Metsker was “like a little kid” who played with the neighborhood children often and never caused concern among parents of the children. Other neighbors in the trailer park reported that Metsker had made a playhouse out of blankets next to his home and would spend time with children there, some less than half his age. Captain Douglas Hunter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office stated that Metsker had a “diminished mental capacity” but did not give a specific diagnosis.
Metsker’s sister and mother would not comment publicly, but instead directed questions to the public defender assigned to the case, Attorney John Johnson Jr. When reached, Johnson said that he was unable to discuss the case.
Metsker was charged Monday with aggravated murder for the strangulation death of his young victim, Reann Murphy, at the Wayne County Justice Center in Wooster, Ohio. He is being held on $1 million bail. No motive was suggested during his arraignment, at which a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 23.
By Jennifer Pfalz
News Net 5