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Timeline: Ashland, Mansfield and Marion victims connected to Shawn Grate

Published: Sep. 20, 2016 at 1:18 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2016 at 2:21 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We want to make sure you are very clear on how many women, when and where they were found. You can do this a couple of ways. You can do it based on the date the bodies were discovered, or chronologically by the approximate dates they were killed.

All total now we know of 5 women who are now attached to Shawn Grate and his case. We're going to start with who Grate admits to authorities was his first ever victim and then move forward.

The first murder that he has admitted to goes all the way back to 2005 or 2006. Grate himself can remember. But he told investigators there was a woman in Marion who was selling magazines door to door. His mother never received her order so when Grate saw the woman again he lured her into his car saying he wanted to buy magazines. He ended up killing her and dumping her body northeast of Marion on Victory Road. It would be at least a year until her body was found by a man looking for cans in the woods. She is the only Jane Doe in this case. Grate, while in custody, was able to point on a map exactly where he dumped Jane Doe, and it matched where the body was found years earlier. Investigators are hoping someone will come forward to identify the woman, who was selling magazines door to door in 2005 or 2006 in Marion.

The next case, possibly connected to Grate, doesn't happen until 2015. The Marion County Sheriff is questioning the time gap between murder #1 and #2, saying a killer generally won't wait that long before they do it again. In this case Rebekah Leicy went missing in February of 2015 and her body wasn't found in March of 2015, dumped off a road in Ashland near Route 30. At the time investigators ruled this an OD death but said it was suspicious. This case has now been re-opened after Grate told authorities he strangled her.

Then a jump of another year. Case #3 is that of Candice Cunningham. She was never reported missing but family thought she had moved to North Carolina in April of 2016. Grate confessed to killing her and on the day he was taken into custody, he was taken to Mansfield and showed authorities where he dumped her body in the woods behind a home. He told them he killed her sometime in June of this year.

Then the cases speed up. His fourth victim appears to be Elizabeth Griffith. She was last seen in August although family didn't report her missing until September 8th. She was one of two bodies found inside that home in Ashland last week on September 13th.

The most recent victim would have been Stacey Stanley who was reported missing two weeks ago. Family told us Grate helped change a tire for Stanley and she gave him a ride. She was the second body found in the home in Ashland.

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