FAIRFIELD, Ohio – Fairfield police say they know who stabbed 15-year-old Chelsea Johnson to death almost exactly two years ago.
The Fairfield teen went missing on April 15, 2012 after telling her mother she was running to a store. Her body was found the next day in a creek behind Brookfield Drive near Pleasant Avenue.
Despite years of investigative work, police have not made an arrest in her death.
But new hope was breathed into the case Wednesday when Fairfield police officer Doug Day announced that investigators are confident they know who killed Johnson two years ago. He said the name of the suspect will not be released until that individual is formally charged.
Day told WCPO that his department submitted its findings to the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office about two months ago.
However, the county prosecutor has asked Fairfield police to continue the investigation.
“I’m not going to play hot potato with this case,” said Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser. “It’s still Fairfield’s case."
The mixed signals are frustrating to friends and family of Johnson, many of whom gathered outside the Butler County courthouse demanding something be done.
"The Fairfield Police Department is saying, yes, we have enough evidence for conviction and we're ready to name the killer, make an arrest. But the prosecution is said, no, we don't have enough evidence then something's wrong. And the family is once again caught in the middle," said Chelsea's grandfather Phil Johnson.
He was one of a handful of people carrying signs that displayed messages like, "We need answers ... not a run around."
"I'm very frustrated, I'm mad at the world because I feel like no one is helping. Two years," he said. "We shouldn't be arguing from the prosecutor to the police department. Fifteen years old, she was a baby -- what if it was somebody else's child? You would be on it. It doesn't take two years."
Johnson's mother, Vickie Fible, said the high school freshman’s death deprived the world of a caring person who loved animals and would one day become a veterinarian.
George Davis II is serving 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to offering drugs to Johnson in exchange for sex on the same day she went missing.
He was not charged in connection with her homicide.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.
WCPO repoter Jay Warren contributed to this report.