Investigators believe they have witnesses who can place a husband at the scene where his wife was found dead in a car, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Tuesday.
Randy Freels faces a charge of one count of murder in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, who was found in a wrecked car with a gunshot wound Friday.
Bail for Randy Freels, 57, was set at $1.5 million Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Judge Gary Nasal to set “a substantial cash bond as high as the court is willing to give. This is based on his conduct and the charge itself.”
Duchak said a check of available department records to 2010 did not show any sheriff’s office calls to the Freels’ residence.
One of the witnesses told investigators she stopped on Ohio 55 around 2:50 p.m. Jan. 12 to ask a man and woman in the road if they needed assistance, then heard “six to eight popping sounds” a short time later after pulling into her nearby driveway, according to a sheriff’s office report.
The witness said the woman “appeared nervous and the male did not make eye contact with her and did not speak,” according to the report. The witness, after viewing a photograph, said she believed the woman was Samantha Freels of Union Twp.
Emergency crews were called just after 3 p.m. Friday for a report of a car into a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road — near where the woman had encountered the couple earlier.
Investigators initially thought the driver, Samantha Freels, died because of the crash but later found she had a gunshot wound.
A sheriff’s investigator at the scene noticed a “fresh bullet hole” on the vehicle’s trunk lid.
Randy Freels was arrested Friday evening at the couple’s home on South Rangeline Road.
Duchak said Tuesday that the investigation continues after a search of a car driven by Samantha Freels, a truck also found near the crash scene and registered to Samantha Freels and the Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls, residence.
The sheriff said numerous weapons were found in the search of the home, including long rifles and pistols. He did not have an exact number but said it would be “in excess of 40.”
“We have several witnesses we believe will place him at the scene,” Duchak said Tuesday.
Samantha Freels was employed as a digital sales specialist for Cox Media Group Ohio, the parent company of WHIO-TV and Dayton Daily News.