Sheriff: Grate confessed to 2005 Marion County killing

Suspected serial killer linked to five cases

MARION - Shawn Grate has been charged with two counts of murder in Ashland County, but Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey said he confessed to a local killing as well.

In March 2007, a man found skeletal remains at a dumping site on Victory Road, and while investigators determined the victim was a woman in her 20s, it remains a Jane Doe case.

Bailey said Grate told investigators he killed a woman in 2005 and then took her body to that site.

"He said this was the first (woman) he ever killed," Bailey said.

According to Bailey, Grate said the victim had been selling and delivering magazines from door to door and didn't deliver ones to the house where he was living, and that led to him killing her. He reportedly told investigators she may have been named Diana or Dana, that he thought she was 26, and that she lived in Ohio but not Marion County.

While Bailey said the killing occurred in the basement of the house where Grate lived at the time, he didn't want to give the address because new occupants live there now. Detectives searched the residence for any trace evidence.

"We're trying to find out what company she was selling magazines for, and trying to identify her," Bailey said.

After the body was found, the Sheriff's Office publicized the case to try to identify the woman, so some details were publicly available, but Bailey said he thought Grate's statements were "credible."

"My concern was that he made this up... I think we can call this credible information at this point," Bailey said. "Just because we have a suspect doesn't mean the case is closed."

Officials are continuing to investigate the possibility that Grate may be connected to other deaths beyond the four in which he's been named as a suspect. There are currently two in Ashland County, one in Richland County and now this case.

"He's obviously a serial killer," Bailey said. "We all want to take a close look at where he was at and what he was doing between the time our body was found and the one in Ashland County, so that's kind of where we're at."

Investigators are also continuing their efforts to identify the victim, as they have DNA and dental records and have listed the case in the FBI Missing Persons list and other law enforcement networks.

"We're surprised that if this girl is missing, why we didn't get a hit," he said.

Bailey said the investigation into the death is developing.

Attempts to reach Grate's attorney, Rolf Whitney of Mansfield, were not successful this morning.

shickey@marionstar.com
740-244-9940
Twitter: @SpenserHickey


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