Fairfield's Katelyn Markham would have been 27 years old Tuesday. But instead of presents, balloons and a cake, her family and friends will watch the premiere of a documentary chronicling her disappearance and death.
The hour-long documentary, entitled “Taken Too Soon: The Katelyn Markham Story,” explores the ongoing homicide investigation and unanswered questions surrounding the young art student’s disappearance in 2011 from her Fairfield home. Her remains were found two years later in a wooded area in Indiana.
Indiana State Police, the Fairfield Police Department and a retired Butler County Sheriff’s Office detective as well as a private detective have been working the case for years.
In December, Markham's father asked the Butler County Sheriff's Office to also investigate his daughter's death.
Since then, sheriff’s detectives, including Det. Joe Nerlinger have been going over evidence.
On Monday, Nerlinger told this news outlet that the sheriff’s office continues to follow up on any leads.
“We have reviewed the extensive files and will continue to follow any and all leads in an effort to ensure justice for Katelyn,” Nerlinger said.
He declined to discuss any specifics in the case.
Michael Crisp, of Remix Films in Georgetown, Ky., produced the documentary that will premiere at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Showcase Cinema de Lux 18 on Springdale Road.
“We want people to see the film because it might trigger someone’s memory of the evening of the disappearance,” Crisp said. “They might know something that they’re keeping and have kept for several years, so that’s really our goal.”
Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey, who is featured in the film, said he too hopes the movie will spark something new in the cold case.
“There are cases that will remain open because of a lack of information,” Dickey said. “I understand his frustration, but at the same time the number of eyes that have looked at this from other public agencies — the Indiana State Police, Butler County Sheriff, us, BCI — … it’s had a thorough airing within the law enforcement community. So I’m confident that we’ve explored every option that’s been available to us.”
Crisp was hired by an anonymous victim’s advocate group to bring Markham’s story to the big screen.
Markham, a 22-year-old art student went missing from her Dorshire Drive residence during the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2011. Police and volunteers looked for months to find the young woman who vanished leaving behind her purse, keys and her dog.
The case gained national media attention as days turned into months with no news on Markham’s whereabouts.
Then on April 7, 2013, skeletal remains were found in a remote wooded area in Cedar Grove, Ind. Within days, confirmation came that the remains were Katelyn's, and the Franklin County Coroner ruled her death a homicide. However, the exact cause of death could not be determined.
A reward for information leading to the arrested and conviction of Markham’s killer has grown to $100,000 over the years.
Crisp said 100 to 125 seats of the 200-seat theater, are reserved for the Markham family and friends and the 29 people he interviewed over the past year-and-a-half to make the documentary.
This article contains previous reporting by staff writer Denise Callahan.