Sheriff's office conducts new search in 22-year-old Washington Township unsolved homicide

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The Warren County Sheriff's Office hopes a new search for evidence in the case of a 22-year-old homicide helps bring the cold case to a close.

"It's going to take a while because it is significantly overgrown," said Chief Deputy John Newsom Monday as crews scoured a ravine where the body of Richard Woods, 41, of Dublin, Ohio was found on November 9, 1992.

Woods was missing for a month before he was discovered with two gunshot wounds to the head. His car, a 1990 Lexus, was located 1.5 miles away at an I-71 rest area.

Woods, a furniture salesman, had gone to Just Living Rooms in Lebanon, Ohio on Oct. 8 on a business call.

He spoke to his wife that evening, saying he was heading home from the store.

"When he did not make it home within a couple of hours from leaving the store she reported him missing," Newsom said. "It was a suspicious missing person (case) from the beginning because his disappearance was uncharacteristic for him."

Investigators at the time questioned Sam Perone, owner of the now-closed Just Living Rooms, who was the last person to see Woods alive.

Perone, and his wife Deborah, denied involvement in Woods' death when questioned, Hamilton-based newspaper, Journal-News reported.

As the initial investigation progressed, sheriff's deputies were unable to link anyone to Woods' death.

After being unsolved for 14 years, in 2006, Newsom and fellow investigators reopened Woods' case based on new evidence and forensic techniques. Investigators had found evidence of blood in the carpet at Lebanon store and had DNA tests run on it. Test results on the blood were inconclusive at the time.

Newsom and other officers spent 72 hours reconstructing Woods' homicide as well.

On Monday, Newsom would not go into detail about what prompted the new search.

"There were other things in the case that needed to be looked into for more detail," Newsom said. "We're just trying to be thorough."

He added since the area of the search was so overgrown that it would take up to a week for officers to complete their search.

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