Police want public’s help in Monroe homicide

Officials are releasing few details about how or when Barbara Howe was killed, but said they are looking for information about anyone seen walking Oct. 29 near Woodridge East Apartments on Roosevelt Avenue.

Middletown police found Howe’s body Nov. 1 in the trunk of her red Cadillac at the apartment complex in the Blue Ball area.

“We believe someone may have seen something and don’t know they saw it,” Monroe Lt. Brian Curlis said. He noted Monday, Oct. 29, was cold and rainy so someone walking along Ohio 122 or Cincinnati-Dayton Road would have stuck out.

“We are looking for a hot lead,” he said.

Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve said they believe the crime occurred in Monroe and the person drove the body to Middletown. His department is also helping with the investigation.

“Evidence leads us to believe the murder was actually committed in Monroe,” he said.

Curlis declined to release information about where investigators believe Howe was killed. She was last seen Oct. 28 at her home in Mount Pleasant Retirement Village.

When asked if investigators believe Howe was dead less than 24 hours after she left her residence, Curlis said, “one could make that assumption.”

People who may have seen or picked up anyone in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 in the vicinity of the Woodridge East Apartments are asked to call police. There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects.

The Butler County Coroner’s office ruled Howe’s death a homicide after performing an autopsy, but the preliminary report does not indicate the cause or date of death. Coroner’s investigator Debbie Lacy said they won’t release the full report until all the tests are returned. Lacy doesn’t expect the full autopsy to be ready until mid-December, she said, because cases are backlogged due to staffing cuts at labs where they send evidence.

Monroe Police are asking anyone who thinks they might have seen anything — even if it seems minor — to contact them at (513) 539-9234 or (513) 360-2211.

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