MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Sept. 13 marked two years since anyone is known to have seen Lindsay Bogan alive.
The 30-year-old Middletown mother’s remains were found in a Madison Township farm field 14 months ago.
Opal Bogan, Lindsay’s grandmother, who lives in Tennessee, said whoever killed her granddaughter needs to pay.
The 81-year-old told WCPO news partner, The Journal-News, her oldest granddaughter made bad decisions that led to drug addiction, but those were no reason for her to be killed.
Lindsay aspired to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse. But, Opal Bogan said, Lindsay fell in with the wrong crowd and never finished school.
“I feel in my heart that someone killed her,” Opal said. “They need to answer for what they did.”
Then with a long sigh, she added, “I know it won’t bring her back.”
Opal Bogan said she and Middletown police Lt. Jimmy Cunningham talk weekly.
“He is very kind. He keeps me updated. I know they are still working on it,” she said.
Jeri Lewis, a community activist, said she frequently saw Bogan around downtown and supplied her with food, coats and gloves.
Bogan’s life turned because she was at the “wrong place and wrong people,” Lewis said. She said Bogan had been off drugs and appeared to be doing well.
“I believe the process of getting to a ‘normal life’ was overwhelming to her,” Lewis said. “But she still wanted to figure it out.”
When Bogan was reported missing more than two years ago, Lewis said she was “really confused” because the young mother appeared to be clean.
Lewis said she was “sick to my stomach” when Bogan’s remains were found.
“How anyone can treat another human that way is beyond understanding,” she said. “I am angry that whoever did this is walking free. At first I just figured it would take time to put it all together. But here we are two years out and still nothing. Many people knew her. Nobody is talking. It’s unsettling especially with more girls missing.”
Middletown police discuss theories
Middletown police have theories and circumstantial evidence that could point to who killed Bogan. But proving it in a court of law may be a different story.
That doesn’t mean crimes weren’t committed, Lt. Jimmy Cunninghan told The Journal-News.
“She didn’t dump herself out there in a heavy wooded area with no clothes on,” Cunningham said. “We are pursuing misdemeanor charges through the Middletown Prosecutor’s Office.”
Those charges could be abuse of a corpse or tampering with evidence — all alleged crimes that occurred after Bogan’s death.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said his office has met with detectives in the Bogan case and at this time there just isn’t enough evidence to pursue a felony charge. But he noted the investigation is ongoing.
For months, Middletown police followed leads trying to find Bogan, who was reported missing by boyfriend Eric Sexton.
That search came an end in July 2016 when her remains were found by a farmer plowing a field in Madison Twp.
Since Bogan’s death, Sexton, 49, has served a prison sentence for promoting prostitution, a charge that involved the Middletown woman.
Sexton told police that he last saw Bogan on Sept. 13, 2015, getting into a silver Dodge Durango at the corner of Central Avenue and Baltimore Street. Sexton said he and Bogan had a 9-month-old daughter and were planning to get married.
Middletown police have since confirmed that Sexton and other family members are persons of interest in Bogan’s death.
In July 2016, police searched a residence in the 1500 block of Woodlawn Avenue for evidence in the Bogan case. When they arrived, raw sewage had to be pumped from the basement. A week later, the house caught fire.
Cunningham said the Woodlawn residence is on the list to be demolished due to code violations. He is not concerned about destroying a crime scene because “we can’t prove the crime scene is the basement because of the three feet of sewage that had been stacked up there for six months.”
All actions, Cunningham said, point to a homicide.
“We have discussed this at length, with Butler County, Middletown, prosecutor’s office and there is a lot of work that went into this to cover up just an overdose,” Cunningham said. “They could have easily put her in the alley where someone would have found her if it was just an overdose.”
Bogan’s remains were found in an area of heavy brush, according the the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
If not for wild animals scattering her remains, Cunningham said she likely would not have been found.
Bogan was not buried, there was no clothing on her when she was found, and it did not appear her body had been placed in a bag or any type of packaging, according to Cunningham.
About 75 percent of Bogan’s skeleton was found, according to Butler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rob Whitlock.
Finding evidence of what killed Bogan is difficult because of the condition of the remains, but Cunningham said, “there was brain matter still inside her skull that was able to be tested.”
He declined to give the results of that testing.
The cause and manner of death for Bogan has been listed as “undetermined” by the Butler County Coroner’s Office, according to Martin Schneider, office administrator.
Schneider confirmed a small portion of brain matter was sent away for laboratory testing and that Bogan’s skeletal remains were examined by a forensic anthropologist.