Butler County court records released Thursday provided more information into the case of Michael Strouse, a Liberty Twp. man who pleaded guilty and was convicted of the 2018 murder of 23-year-old Ellen “Ellie” Weik of West Chester Twp.
Here are six things we learned from those more than 800 page documents:
1. Strouse searched for an incident Mason police are investigating
Strouse admitted to police in 2018 to filming a video located on his Google account of women jogging in Mason. Following the incident, he conducted repeated online queries for “women attacked in Mason ohio jogging” or similar searches.
Those searches brought up links to articles about the unsolved incident involving a woman in Mason, who was attacked from behind by a masked man on Jan. 22, 2018.
Mason police confirmed Friday that Strouse “certainly is” a suspect in that case.
2. He conducts numerous Google searches linked to both cases
Prior to Weik going missing, Strouse conducted a Google search in March on “how long does a dead body smell,” “survivors guide to prison,” “Ellie Weik,” “the Cincinnati strangler,” a business near Weik’s residence and Weik’s social media pages.
He also searched for terms like “forced rape while jogging,” “sleep assault,” “jogging women porn” and “forced teen porn.”
After Weik’s disappearance, Strouse searched for “new york strangler” and variations of that (July 31, 2018), then “how to delete photos off a icloud account” and variations of this on Aug. 5, 2018, “how to get rid of poison ivy” on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, and conducted four searches for “momentary laps of judgement,” according to the documents.
3. He used technology to disguise his identity
The court documents also shed light on Strouse stalking Weik before her death, including his use of a spoof texting app to chat with Weik while posing as her friend “Nate.”
On the night Weik disappeared from her house, she told “Nate” she was home alone.
4. Police found evidence of the crime in Strouse’s home
Police discovered Weik’s necklace, her driver’s license and a small clump of her hair at Strouse’s house. Her hair was stored insid a tin, something Strouse called a “tribute,” according to documents.
Policed also found a pair of mud-covered shoes and a pair of handcuffs, an object analyzed by BCI and found to contain DNA profiles belonging to Strouse and Weik.
5. He told police and an inmate he filmed a porn video for money
According to the court documents, an inmate at the Butler County Jail told police detectives Strouse told him Weik “was killed in his basement during sex, while filming a torture porn video” using a GoPro camera and that Strouse knew someone in Los Angeles who would “purchase the torture porn videos from him for $5,000 to $10,000.”
Strouse told investigators a similar story in regard to Weik’s death following his arrest, claiming she died of strangulation, but that it was accidental.
6. He boasted of another crime
Unsealed court documents also show the inmate told West Chester police Strouse “alleges to have murdered another female named ‘Shelly’ who he killed in a similar manner and dumped her body at an unknown location in the woods near a creek.”
The information about about “Shelly” had “not been independently substantiated in any manner at this time,” according to police.
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