Drugs and Missing Women: The Sad State of Chillicothe, Ohio
The connection between prostitution, drug use, and crime has long been known, but a new horrifying story coming out of a small town in Ohio raises many concerns about how deep this connection is. Chillicothe, Ohio, a city afflicted by drugs, poverty, and unemployment, is now filled with citizens who are concerned for their safety after six women have disappeared in a little over a year.
Charlotte Trego, a mother of two, was the first to go missing about a year ago after being evicted by her roommate. She was not seen alive after. That same day Tameka Lynch, a mother of three and a friend of Trego, went missing as well. Next came Wanda Lemons who was last seen by her mother. A friend of Lemons told Chillicothe police she had talked about going with a truck driver to Texas where Lemons had family but has not heard from her since. Two months later Shasta Himelrick’s body was found floating in the Scioto River outside of Chillicothe. Himelrick was pregnant when she went missing on Christmas Day after promising to return to her grandmother’s house. In the same vein, Tiffany Sayre also went missing after promising her return. She was doing business at a local motel and told her friend that she would come back shortly but never made it. Lastly Timberly Claytor, a woman who was actually never reported missing, was found dead after she was shot in the head three times.
Four of the women have been found dead and officials are still working to locate Lemons and Trego. Each seemed to have a history of drug use, prostitution, and had connections to the same social circle. There also appeared to be a pattern of the bodies being dumped along waterways outside the city leaving officials to wonder if there is a serial killer involved. Staff Lt. Mike Preston of the Ross County Sheriff’s Department told The Washington Post:
I don’t want to come out and say ‘yes, we have a serial killer,’ but it’s a small community that we live in … and the number of females who have come up missing, and then the bodies that we’ve found, that’s quite a bit for our community.
Authorities have made one arrest so far involving the death of Timberly Claytor. Jason A. McCrary, 36, of Chillicothe, was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor more than ten years ago. He has not been charged with Claytor’s murder because investigators are waiting for results of DNA collected in a vehicle seized during a search warrant of McCrary’s home before filing charges. He still remains in the Ross County Jail on a charge that he failed to register his address as a sex offender. Authorities are still working hard to find information on the rest of the women despite the lack of leads that they have. Chillicothe Police Chief Keith Washburn said:
We’ve checked land, air and water for any signs of (the women). But the problem is you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack unless you have the information. The information we have is running dry on some of these cases.
Washburn said prostitution in the Chillicothe area appears to be driven by a need for quick money to purchase drugs. Lieutenant Preston acknowledged that the city is battling a heroin problem and there have been frequent arrests as a result. This leaves me to wonder what the town has done to stop this constant drug battle, and if that could have had an impact on these disturbing disappearances. This has to be a terrifying time for Chillicothe. With so few answers and arrests made, people are in fear for their lives. It is sad to see that a city once known as Ohio’s capital is now known as a city of such tragic events. Police have to crack down on finding information about these deaths and also curtail the drug and prostitution businesses to keep people safe before this tragedy continues.