As Ohio Goes...

Date Published 11.02.12


All eyes are on Ohio right now, the state that is more likely than any other to determine the presidential election.  I attended a family wedding in Ohio recently and was struck by the relentlessness of the campaigning --- driving north from Cincinnati we were bombarded with a long line of pleading, almost agitated billboards, including the notorious “Voter Fraud is a Felony!” sign with the unsubtle gavel.  The afternoon rain added to the dystopian vibe.



That said, the phrase “As Ohio goes, so goes America” resonates with me right now, but not as it pertains to the election.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced the creation of a terrific new crime-solving tool --- for the first time information about Ohio’s estimated 5,000 unsolved homicides, missing persons and unidentified remains is available in one place, a searchable database on the AG website


Back in September DeWine announced his Ohio Unsolved Homicide Initiative, which called for law enforcement agencies across the state to submit their cold cases.  Cooperation exceeded expectations.  The database is well designed, and users can search using key words, anything from “prostitute” to “duct tape” to “bicycle.”  There’s a designated area for submitting tips.


Ohio presents something of a problem for political junkies and polling experts due to its geographic and economic diversity.  It’s difficult to easily categorize a state that includes everything from gritty manufacturing towns to urban neighborhoods to farmland.  Infamous Ohio crimes reflect the diversity --- the Cleveland Torso Murderer preyed on Great Depression-era drifters in the shantytowns on the eastside of the city; the murder of Marilyn Sheppard, in 1954, and the subsequent conviction and acquittal of her husband, Sam, took place in affluent suburbia; Ronald Tammen Jr. vanished from the bucolic campus of Miami University in Oxford (one of the many college towns in Ohio), leaving behind a mystery that continues to intrigue nearly fifty years later.


Ronald Tammen Jr.


A more recent crime unsettled a different section of the state.  This time it was Fort Recovery (population 1,430), a quiet village in the gently rolling farmland of west Ohio.  Colleen Grube, 47, was last seen around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.  The next morning her sister-in-law discovered the bodies of Colleen and her wheelchair-bound father, Robert, 70, in their farmhouse at 2216 Burrville Road.  There was no sign of forced entry, but the house was ransacked as if, investigators say, the killers were searching for something specific.  The victims were bound with duct tape and shot to death.  Interestingly, authorities say they know multiple offenders were involved, including at least one male and one female. 



Robert and Colleen Grube


The Grube murders are one of the many unsolved cases Mike DeWine and law enforcement officials in Ohio hope to solve with the new cold case database.  “As Ohio goes, so goes America” is the quip about Ohio’s fiercely sought-after 18 electoral votes, but my hope is it applies to smartly designed, state-specific cold case databases as well.

The Feed

RT @emilynussbaum: The artful @hodgman's straightforward case for Hillary:
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Know what he does believe in? PAC $. Took 10K from HRC pac 2006. That means he's in her pocket.#BSLogic
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Good one. Unfortunately Bernie on record as not believing in charity.
@johnlevenstein Thanks for asking, btw. That's the kind of elevated discourse missing lately. A lot of mud slinging. #I'mNotAboveItEither
@johnlevenstein Can't convey it all thru Twitter but yes, she has flaws. Too poll-driven, burned needed bridges, trouble owning mistakes.