Thursday marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of Katelyn Markham and for those who loved the Fairfield woman, another year without answers or the arrest of her killer.
Markham, a 22-year-old art student, vanished from her Dorshire Drive residence during the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2011.
Investigators believe Markham had no plans to leave the townhouse that night because of what she left behind — her purse, keys and her dog, Murphy. They believe she opened the door to someone and was never seen alive again.
The case gained national media attention as days turned into months with no news on Markham’s whereabouts. Groups search endlessly for the young woman who was engaged to be married.
But all that changed on April 7, 2013, when Markham’s skeletal remains were found in a remote wooded area in Cedar Grove, Ind.
Family and friends, including her father David Markham, then had the proof of the truth they had always known — Katelyn was murdered.
But despite a new police agency taking over — the Indiana State Police became the lead agency in the homicide investigation — there are still no answers to what happened to the 2008 Fairfield High School graduate.
For David Markham, Katelyn’s father, the frustration of having no answers has grown in the past few years.
“The frustration has increased and anger is starting creep in … it affects other parts of my life,” Markham said.
On April 10, the family was surprised to learn additional remains, believed to be Katelyn’s, were found in the same Franklin County, Ind., location.
“I think everyone was a little taken back by that,” Markham said, adding he has heard there was never a police line placed around the site for investigators to comb the area.
A forensic anthropologist has been studying the latest remains to determine if they are Markham’s. Franklin County, Ind., Coroner Wanda Lee told this reporter she has the results of the testing, but could not release information until talking with the family and police.
Markham said Tuesday he had not talked with Lee or Indiana State Police in months.
Sgt. Noel Houze said detectives are still investigating the case, but haven’t received any fresh information.
“There hasn’t been any new information in months that I know of. Nothing that would move the investigation forward,” Houze said.
Fairfield Officer Doug Day said the homicide investigation is in the hands of the Indiana State Police, but the Fairfield Police Department is assisting if needed.
“It seems like neither jurisdiction wants to take charge, ” Markham said. “The books are getting dusty and everyone is just waiting around for a phone call or for a tip rather than getting out and working the case.”
Markham’s frustration has prompted the family to retain retired Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Frank Smith, who spent years solving cold cases.
“We have a game plan,” Markham said, noting he did toy with asking the sheriff’s office or BCI to investigate. “But this is the way to go … we are getting a fresh set of eyes.”
Smith, who has his own polygraph business in Hamilton, said he has been reviewing the case for a few months.
“Three years ago I was still working cold cases as the sheriff’s office and we took a look at Katelyn’s case comparing it to others we had unsolved at the time. We found no correlation,” Smith said. But he added he met Dave Markham and “I felt his pain.”
Smith said it is his opinion that Katelyn’s case is now a cold case.
“That doesn’t mean they aren’t still working the case,” Smith said. “But if there has been no resolution and no arrest after 36 months, it is a cold case.”
Smith said he hopes to change that and is working with the police agencies involved to solve the mystery of what happened to Katelyn.
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