Suspect’s suicide leaves questions unanswered in slayings of 2 women

For years, police had no suspects in the slaying of Tina Marie Ivery, whose broken body was found in a wooded Jefferson Twp. trash heap in December 1991.

Then in November 2007, an informant called Dayton police and said they should look at Tommy Swint, a suspect in the disappearance of another local woman.

Swint had only recently come under suspicion after appearing to be a law-abiding citizen. He was able to “blend into society,” said assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor Tracey Ballard Tangeman. “He had a legitimate job, a legitimate marriage, a legitimate home.”

But in August 2007, Swint resigned from the Trotwood Police Department after six weeks on the job. The reason was that Richmond, Ind., police told Trotwood officials that they considered him a suspect in the 2001 disappearance of Marilyn “Niqui” McCown, something Swint knew but did not tell his supervisors.

Dayton police followed the tipster’s advice and eventually linked Swint to Ivery’s slaying. It took two years, but scientists at the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory tied Swint to semen on Ivery’s jacket, to blood on the quilt wrapped around her, and to a fingerprint on the tape used to bind the quilt.

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Earlier this month, prosecutors obtained an indictment charging Swint with murder for Ivery’s death. But when police approached Swint’s apartment in Phenix City, Ala., to arrest him, Swint shot himself.

Swint’s suicide closed the case and left investigators with questions they may never be able to answer, such as why would he have killed Ivery, and was he a serial killer? Tangeman said last week that cold case detectives are checking to see if Swint could be a suspect in several other unsolved homicides, but they have not yet linked him to any.

“In some ways, I felt a little cheated that he chose to take his life,” Tangeman said. “I don’t think he would have cooperated with other investigations. But we had the hope while he was alive.”

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