Butler Co. Sheriff working on Markham case

Posted at 10:01 AM, Dec 23, 2015

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — Butler County Sheriff’s detectives are wasting no time diving into the death of Fairfield’s Katelyn Markham.

More than four years after she disappeared and two years after her skeletal remains were found in Indiana, the 21-year-old art student’s demise remains unsolved. On Dec. 18, Dave Markham, Katelyn’s father, Florida private investigator J. Ryan Green and attorney Tina Barrett all pointed to Fairfield police as the reason for lack of answers.

Markham begged the county sheriff’s office to take the case and give it “fresh eyes.”

Sheriff Richard Jones obliged and, within minutes, sheriff’s office administrators were in contact with Markham, the Journal-News reported.

On Dec. 21, Maj. Mike Craft said despite the holiday season, detectives are already meeting with the police agencies involved.

“Starting today, we are meeting with people and making arrangements to look at everything,” Craft said, but noting a quick investigation is not likely.

“It will take time to look at every piece of evidence,” he said.

During the Dec. 18 press conference, Green said a new piece of evidence, which has been processed for DNA, could break the case wide open. But he declined to comment further, noting the evidence was available for testing four years ago, but Fairfield police had not processed it.

“There could be an arrest if (the DNA test) comes back favorably,” Green said. He added he had to “track down and purchase” the evidence that he learned about while interviewing one of the last two people to see Katelyn alive.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office was asked by the family of another Fairfield homicide victim whose death is unsolved to take over the case from Fairfield police. The sheriff’s office investigated the murder of Chelsea Johnson for a year and did not get an indictment against the suspect.

Craft said the department has not given up on the Johnson case.

Katelyn Markham disappeared from her condo on Aug. 13, 2011. Her skeletal remains were found at a dump site in a wooded area in rural Indiana in 2013. A coroner ruled her death a homicide, but the cause of death remains unknown.

Police never publicly identified a suspect. Katelyn Markham was last seen alive by her fiance, John Carter, who reported her missing.

Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey said Dec. 18 that the department is willing to work with other agencies.

In addition to Fairfield, Indiana State Police and Green, Frank Smith, a local private investigator and retired Butler County Sheriff’s Office investigator, are all involved in the investigation.

Last year, Green said he had interviewed two people, one of whom failed a polygraph test, and they have information about what happened to Katelyn. But Fairfield detectives failed to act in a timely manner to interrogate the individuals themselves, Green said, and may have missed an opportunity to advance the case.

Green said he is still investigating three theories about Katelyn’s death: it was a homicide, an accident or a drug overdose.

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