Michael Strouse, who was convicted of the 2018 murder of 23-year-old Ellen “Ellie” Weik of West Chester Twp., is under investigation for an assault on a Mason jogger earlier that year.
Mason Police Chief Todd Carter confirmed Friday to this media outlet that 30-year-old Strouse, of Liberty Twp., “certainly is” a suspect in that case, which involved a woman attacked from behind while running on an access road off of Mason Road.
The woman told police she was saw a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt running behind her as she reached her turn-around point. The man grabbed her and she yelled for help before escaping the suspect, immediately running to her residence and calling the police.
She told police the suspect ran back toward Mason Early Child Care Center. Officers responded to the area and unsuccessfully attempted to locate the suspect.
That case, which remains under investigation by Mason police, is part of more than 800 pages of court records unsealed Thursday, documents that provide details about Weik’s murder and other crimes to which Strouse could be connected.
That includes Google searches found on one of Strouse’s accounts linking him “to the attempted abduction in Mason on January 22, 2018 of a jogger.”
According to court documents, video consists of a “male subject, again believed to be Strouse but unable to be verified due to lack of identifying characteristics, following and stalking a female jogger around the Mason, Ohio area.”
The subject is driving a white vehicle, one that is consistent to a car registered to Strouse’s mother, according to the documents. The incident occurred “in the vicinity of Tylersville Road and Mason Montgomery Road, based on landmarks observed in the background,” according to the documents.
Documents state that Mason police collected DNA from the hands and face of the victim in the attempted abduction.
“The DNA was sent to Miami Valley Crime Lab, and a profile of a white male was identified,” according to the documents. “The DNA was not suitable for entry into CODIS but is suitable for comparison to other DNA samples.”
CODIS is the Combined DNA Index System, which “enables federal, state, and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other and to known offenders,” according to the FBI.
Following the incident, Strouse conducted repeated queries for “women attacked in Mason ohio jogging” or similar searches, which led to links to articles about the unsolved Mason attack.
He conducted a Google search in March on “how long does a dead body smell” and clicked a link that provided that information. In early July, three weeks before Weik went missing, he searched for “missing girl in Hamilton” and “missing girl in West Chester Ohio” and viewed seven articles about missing persons. On July 18, 2018, he searched for “how to survive prison poster” and “survivors guide to prison,” according to the documents.
On July 20, 10 hours before searching for “Ellie Weik,” Strouse conducted three searches for “the Cincinnati strangler” and clicked on one Wikipedia article.
Records show that in the weeks leading up to Weik’s death, Strouse also Googled a business near Weik’s residence, searched for her by name her Instagram, Whitepage and Facebook page.
He also conducted searches for what court documents labeled “sexually violent pornography and deviant behavior” including terms like “forced rape while jogging,” “sleep assault,” “jogging women porn” and “forced teen porn.”
After Weik’s disappearance, Strouse searched for “new york strangler” and variations of that (July 31, 2018), then “how to delete photos off a icloud account” and variations of that on Aug. 5, 2018, then “how to get rid of poison ivy” on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, and four searches for “momentary lapse of judgement,” according to the documents.
Taken into custody for questioning following Weik’s disappearance, Strouse initially denied having had contact with Weik for several years, then admitted to secretly recording Weik in April through a window of her home, according to court documents.
He sent her a portion of the clip, which was 3 minutes and 37 seconds long, according to documents.
Strouse also admitted to police to taking the video located on his Google account of the women jogging in Mason.
Strouse stalked Weik before her death, using a spoof texting app to chat with Weik by posing as her friend “Nate.”
On the night Weik went missing, she told “Nate” she was home alone.
According to court documents, an inmate at the Butler County Jail told detectives Strouse reportedly told him that Weik “was killed in his basement during sex, while filming a torture porn video” and that Strouse knew someone in Los Angeles who would purchase the videos from him for $5,000 to $10,000.
Strouse told investigators a similar story following his arrest, claiming Weik died of strangulation, but that it was accidental during the consensual act.
Police said Strouse told them he recorded the video, but that he later deleted or disposed of the memory card. His GoPro-style camera was confiscated by detectives but did not contain the video described by Strouse, according to court documents.
Police did find Weik’s necklace, her driver’s license and a small clump of her hair at Strouse’s house. Police said the hair was stored inside a tin, something Strouse called a “tribute,” documents said.
Police also found a pair of mud-covered shoes and a pair of handcuffs, an object analyzed by BCI and found to contain DNA profiles belonging to Strouse and Weik.
Strouse, who admitted to Weik’s death, is serving a life sentence for murder. He has not been charged with any of the other alleged crimes mentioned in the court records released Thursday.
Those documents also show the inmate told West Chester police Strouse “alleges to have murdered another female named ‘Shelly’ who he killed in a similar manner and dumped her body at an unknown location in the woods near a creek.”
The information about about “Shelly” “has not been independently substantiated in any manner at this time,” according to police.
Documents also note the inmate who provided the information of Strouse’s boasts has a lengthy criminal history, but was considered by police to be credible, as he provided information that would only be known by case investigators, prosecutors or Strouse.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.