A teenager found dead Thursday near a creek in Fairfield was shot several times and has become the city’s third unsolved homicide this year and the second at that location, police said.
A day after Joseph Oakley, 19, of Fairfield was found dead near the Creekside Village of Fairfield Apartments on Pleasant Avenue, police officer Doug Day said Friday an autopsy revealed the young man was shot several times with a small caliber weapon in the chest.
Day would not say how many times Oakley was shot, or where, but he said a small caliber is considered anything less than a .38. Day also would not say whether police had any suspects or persons of interest at this time.
On Thursday, police only said Oakley had a laceration to the head.
Chelsea Johnson, 15, was found stabbed to death in April near the same spot where Oakley’s body was found, police said. Johnson and Oakley had both been students at Options Academy in Fairfield. The creek where Oakley was found is also in the same general area from where Katelyn Markham disappeared; she has been missing for slightly more than a year.
No one has been charged with Johnson’s death, but George Donald Davis faces a trial before a judge for allegedly soliciting sex from Johnson in exchange for heroin on the last day she was seen alive. He goes to trial Sept. 17 before Judge Keith Spaeth in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Oakley’s cousin, Nichole Fields, lives at the same Laurel Avenue residence in Hamilton where Oakley had lived at one time. Most recently, she said, Oakley had been living in Fairifeld with his grandmother.
“He was my ring-bearer at my wedding. He used to stay with me and my ex-husband a lot. We used to take him camping, to family reunions and stuff. He was your normal, average kid. He liked to rollerblade, ride bikes and do all that kind of stuff,” she said. “He was very caring and very tender-hearted.”
Oakley and Fields had already seen tragedy earlier this year. Oakley found his father, William Oakley, dead of a heart ailment where Fields lives now. Fields’ own mother, Brenda Schimpf, died only two months ago.
“He’d been having a real rough time dealing with that … because he found (his father) here. He wasn’t able to take staying here after his dad passed,” Fields said. She noted that Oakley had been talking about going to a trade school but hadn’t decided on a specific area; he was unemployed at the time of his death.
Funeral arrangements for Oakley have not been made yet. A donation jar will be set up at Scotty’s Pub on Donald Drive in Fairfield, and a memorial account has been set up at Fifth Third Bank to help pay funeral expenses.
A crowd of nearly 60 people attended a candlelight vigil Friday night where Oakley was found. After several minutes of silence, the crowd released some balloons and shouted, “We love you Joey.”
“He was a good kid,” said David Rittenhouse, Oakley’s brother-in-law. “He didn’t deserve to have his life snapped out this early.
“He was slowly learning what life is all about,” Rittenhouse continued, adding that he knew Oakley about 10 years. “He will be sorely missed by me and a lot of other people.”
Katlin Campbell and her friend Ashley Huff did not know Oakley, but came to pay their respects.
“Some of my friends knew him,” said Campbell, a senior at Fairfield High School. “A lot of people at school are affected by this. It’s very sad.”
Both girls said they were appalled by the recent violence in Fairfield.
“It’s scary,” said Huff, a Hamilton High graduate. “It’s crazy how many murders there have been in the last couple months.”
Fields said she wasn’t sure what Oakley was doing at the time of his death, saying he and his girlfriend might have had an argument.
The first homicide in Fairfield this year was that of Damien Terrell Taylor, 29, who was shot dead at a Winton Road apartment complex in March. That crime remains unsolved. Before this year, there had not been any homicides in Fairfield for three years.
Fairfield Mayor Ron D’Epifanio said Thursday he still has the “utmost confidence” in the police department.
“I think everybody needs to take a deep breath … sometimes (the police) immediately know what happened and they can’t share it,” D’Epifanio said.
Staff Writer Skip Weaver contributed to this story.
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