Last message from missing local woman was photo sent by text

There were still no signs of her Tuesday; family and fiance are baffled.

FAIRFIELD — Katelyn Markham was supposed to be blowing out birthday candles Tuesday to celebrate her 22nd birthday. Instead, family and friends spent hours looking for any sign of her whereabouts after she was last seen late Saturday.

More than 100 people joined police and fire crews in a search and rescue effort near her Fairfield townhouse on Dorshire Drive around 3 p.m. Tuesday. When rescue efforts were wrapping up around 7 p.m., there still were no signs of Markham.

Police and family say they have no idea what could have happened to her. Her fiance, John Carter, said he last saw Markham around 11 or 11:30 Saturday night at her townhouse.

At 12:52 a.m. Sunday, he received a picture of Markham on his cellphone, sent via text message from her phone.

That was the last time anyone has heard from her.

The next morning, Carter said he sent his fiance a “good morning” text message. When she didn’t respond, he assumed she was running late for her shift at David’s Bridal in the Tri-County Mall.

“I kept texting her and texting her, and there was no response,” he said.

Concerned for her well being, he asked to leave work to check on her. Finding her car in the townhouse parking lot, he said he was immediately worried, knowing she would never skip work and ignore text messages.

But inside, Carter, along with the rest of Markham’s family, friends and police, would only find more questions.

Her small mixed-breed dog, Murphy, was found locked in her bedroom. Carter said it was obvious the dog “had been there awhile.”

Markham’s purse, keys and car were all there. The only things missing were Markham and her cellphone, which Carter’s mother, Karyn Winkler, said was turned off around 12:45 a.m. Sunday. The GPS tracking device on the phone also had been turned off.

Markham’s family and friends describe her as a courageous, responsible and nice girl. They said she didn’t suffer from depression and was looking forward to what she had planned in the future.

“She’s positive, outgoing and motivated. She had a plan and she was sticking to it,” said her father, Dave Markham.

She was set to graduate with her bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Cincinnati in mid-September and was planning to move to Colorado with Carter on Nov. 28. They were planning to marry in two years, after Carter turned 25. Tuesday was also the couple’s one-year anniversary of being engaged. He proposed on her 21 birthday.

“Katelyn is the love of my life. I miss her a lot. I love her a lot,” Carter said.

She shared the townhouse with her father, who was reportedly in the process of moving in with his girlfriend. She was home alone the night she went missing.

Fairfield police have said there’s no evidence of foul play, and a reasonable explanation for her disappearance hasn’t been found. But while there’s no evidence a crime was committed, Lt. Kevin Haddix said all possibilities are being investigated.

He declined to comment on if Markham’s credit cards or bank account has seen any activity since her disappearance.

“The only thing I can tell you is that it’s something we monitor,” he said.

While the family prays for Markham’s safe return, Carter said he is “absolutely” sure something “suspicious” happened to his fiancee.

“She’s literally the sweetest girl,” he said. “She’s so nice and caring. She would never just leave. She’s just too pragmatic. I’m just absolutely terrified.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Fairfield police at (513) 639-7820.

Jessica Heffner contributed to this report.

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