Updated: 9:23 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Posted: 12:34 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013

Police to begin piecing together Markham mystery again



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Dave Rader (middle) with the Ohio division of Texas Equusearch, a search and recovery organization, speaks to volunteers during an August 2011 search for Katelyn Markham at Harbin Park in Fairfield.
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The skeletal remains of Katelyn Markham were found Sunday, April 7, in Cedar Grove, Ind., is approximately 30 miles west of Fairfield.

By Lauren Pack and Eric Robinette

Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD —

The “Missing Woman” posters that hung in Fairfield business windows Thursday no longer represented the hope that a young Fairfield woman with a bright future who vanished two summers ago would return home safely.

Instead, Fairfield and Indiana State police will begin the process of piecing together what happened to Katelyn Markham after her skeletal remains were found Sunday in Cedar Grove, Ind., about 30 miles west of Fairfield.

“We have had hope that she was going to come home all along, and we believed very strongly in that,” said Karyn Winkler, the mother of Markham’s fiancé, John Carter. “Now we know — and we have the relief of knowing — she’s been with God this whole time. But that’s the only relief we have.”

Katelyn’s father, Dave Markham, addressed a crowd of supporters Thursday evening at Fairfield West Baptist Church.

“Although we are glad to have Katelyn home, we always had the hope to be able to see her again,” he said.

A missing person’s report was filed after Markham did not show up for work Aug. 14, 2011, at David’s Bridal near Tri-County Mall. Markham, an Art Institute of Cincinnati student who was close to graduating, left her car, her keys, her dog, and all her personal belongings with the exception of her cell phone at her Dorshire Drive residence.

Her cell phone was turned off around 12:45 a.m. on Aug. 14. The GPS device on her phone was also turned off.

Police used dental records to determine that remains found Sunday in Cedar Grove, Ind., were Markham’s, according to Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey.

Several items were taken from the creek bed where Markham’s body was found, but how pertinent they will be to the case remains to be determined, according to police.

“It is a dumping ground … there was a lot of junk around,” said Sgt. Noel Houze of the Indiana State Police.

The skeletal remains of Markham were found by men searching for metal to scrap, Houze said.

He would not comment whether jewelry, clothing or personal items were found with Markham.

“Most of the skeletal remains were there,” Houze said.

Houze said investigators are working to determine if Markham died where she was found.

The missing person case is now a death investigation, Dickey said.

“We are working with (Indiana State Police) on a joint investigation to find out what occurred,” he said.

Markham’s body was taken to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office for forensic examination, Houze said. He added that all death investigations are treated as homicides until proven otherwise by a coroner’s ruling.

“That is one of the questions they need to answer. How she died and when she died,” Houze said.

Tragedy brought many together

Markham’s father and younger sister, Ally, were flanked by several people who helped in search efforts – both locally and regionally – for Markham.

Debbie Estes, mother of Billy DiSilvestro who has been missing from Hamilton since 2011, said her heart is breaking for the Markham family.

“We knew it might be Katelyn, but there were so many missing people in this country it could have been anyone,” she said of hearing about the discovery of bones in Indiana.

Dave Rader, director of the Ohio division of Texas Equusearch that conducted two searches for Markam, also expressed his grief for the tragic end.

“When you get that phone call, it’s kind of a letdown, because you’re always thinking positive that maybe one day she would walk through the door and have a happy ending,” he said. “In this case, it just wasn’t going to be.”

The search group at one point was within about 10 miles of where Markham’s remains were ultimately found, according to Rader.

“We had so much area to clear, we just did not get to that point,” Rader said of a September 2011 search in Indiana. “Once you start getting out that far, there’s no direction. It’s like taking a dart, throwing it a map and saying this place is as good as any.”

“This tragedy has touched so many people and brought so many of us together, that I know I truly have lifelong friends because of this,” Dave Markham said during Thursday’s press conference.

Going through every parent’s worst nightmare has made him want to help others in similar situations, he said. He has participated in searches for other missing people, and he wants everyone to remember those who have not yet been found.

“I know how difficult it is not to have answers … anytime somebody finds a body or something, it’s somebody’s child or somebody’s friend,” he said.

“Bring Billy home next,” Estes said earnestly at the press conference.

Indiana investigators will travel to Ohio to interview Markham’s friends and family as the investigation progresses, according to Houze.

“Any interviewing will be done there,” he said.


Katelyn Markham disappearance timeline

Aug. 13,2011: John Carter leaves Katelyn Markham’s townhouse at Dorshire Drive

Aug. 14, 2011: Carter receives a photo text message from Markham. It is the last word anyone hears from her. Her cell phone turned off at 12:45 a.m., and Carter received the photo at 12:52 a.m. A missing persons report is filed at 7:59 p.m. that evening. Carter appears on CNN’s “Nancy Grace” twice that month.

Sept. 1, 2011: Texas Equusearch begins looking for Markham.

April 2012: Chelsea Johnson, 15, is found dead in a creek bed about a mile from the Dorshire Drive townhouse. Police say there is no connection between the two cases.

July 2012: Police clear Gurpreet Kang, 26, of any involvement in the Markham case. Kang had worked in a gas station near Markham’s residence. He is charged in an unrelated Oxford rape case.

Aug. 2012: Not long after the one-year anniversary of Markham’s disappearance, Joseph Oakley, 19, of Hamilton is found dead very near the same place Johnson was found. Police say there is no connection between any of the cases.

April 7, 2013: Skeletal remains found in Cedar Grove, Ind.

April 10, 2013: Skeletal remains are positively identified as those of Katelyn Markham.

 
 

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