Ashland abduction case: Body found in Mansfield likely 1st victim

Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat maps site where body found in Mansfield
Published: Sep. 14, 2016 at 6:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2016 at 12:11 AM EDT
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(Source: Ashland County Pictures)
(Source: Ashland County Pictures)

MANSFIELD, OH (WOIO) - A body found in the woods behind a burned-out home in Mansfield was removed late Wednesday afternoon.

The woman was one of three bodies found in northeast Ohio on Tuesday. She was likely the first victim, killed in mid-June.

Two other bodies were found in Ashland, and one of them has been identified as Stacey Stanley. Police said Shawn Michael Grate, who was found in an Ashland home after a 911 call Tuesday, has been charged with abduction.

He led authorities to the body in Mansfield.

Get latest in police investigation | Slideshow: Grate arrested 

Richland County Sheriff Steve Sheldon said Grate was brought to the home and within five minutes, the body was found in the woods. The home there burned down in June.

"We think we know who the victim is. We have a name. We can't release the name since we haven't notified the next of kin nor have we verified who it is," Sheldon said.

He added that the victim might not be from Richland County, but did spend time there. The suspect was homeless and might have spent time in other locations, along with the victim, Sheldon explained.

"Typically, a person doesn't have to be from the area they're found, and that's what I think we suspect with this lady that's found here," he said. "Though she did spend some time in Richland County, we don't think he was originally from Richland County."

Sheldon said he wouldn't speculate if there could be more victims.

Grate was homeless and stayed at several places in the Mansfield and Ashland areas.

"One of the places he stayed was this house," Sheldon said.

An anthropology doctor and students are at the crime scene recovering any evidence they can find inside the home and in the woods. Sheldon said they are looking for identification, purses, even blood -- although it might be destroyed after three months. Several items were already taken from the house.

The anthropology team and the coroner's office want to do detailed work before moving the body. They are trying to get evidence from DNA and what can be collected from body first.

"I was shocked, because he was always a nice guy," said one of Grate's former neighbors Margarita Maynard. "You never know anymore. You never know what's going to happen to you, so it makes me lock the doors a little more and shut the windows. Scary. Very scary."

Stay with Cleveland 19 News for updates.

MORE: Suspect in found bodies case had squatted at Mansfield scene
MORE: Ashland police: Missing woman, 2 bodies found at area residence

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