The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 24, 2013

Happy ending in Cleveland gives hope to Ashtabula County people seeking missing loved ones

The amazing rescue of three Cleveland women held captive for 10 years is proof one can never stop searching for a missing person, local law enforcement officials said.

“You just never know,” said Lt. Terry Moisio, of the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office. “You always hope.”

Amanda Berry, 27, Georgina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32,  were rescued May 6 from a house on Cleveland’s near west side, their prison for a decade. Their discovery after so long has provided officers investigating cold cases with renewed optimism to family and friends of missing persons.

“It’s a little ray of hope,” said Missy Cates, sister of Tim Rhodes, a Conneaut man reported missing in October 2011.

The story of the three Cleveland women is a prime example why investigators should never close the book on missing person cases, even when evidence points to a specific outcome, Moisio said.

“You just never know,” he said. “There’s always hope.”

Conneaut Police Chief Charles Burlingham, whose department is searching for Rhodes, agreed. He said the outcome in the Cleveland case is “motivation” to continue the hunt.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” he said.

The sheriff’s department has a handful of missing person cases on file, some dating back more than 10 years, Moisio said. One involves the 1997 disappearance of Anna Marie Zirkle, who was raised in Ashtabula County but living in Columbus when reported missing. The 22-year-old was last seen leaving her house, according to reports.

In July 2011, Columbus police — acting on a tip — came to Windsor Township in search of Zirkle’s remains. No body was found.

Deputies routinely pursue every tip and lead that arrive pertaining to a missing person situation, Moisio said. “Cases are never closed,” he said.

In some instances, people disappear on purpose, Moisio said. Last month, a family reported a 22-year-old relative had vanished, he said. Upon investigating, deputies found her in another state — where she had freely traveled, Moisio said.

“She wanted to be there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cates said the Cleveland situation has helped boost the spirits of Rhodes’ family, Cates said.

“Anytime we hear anything on the news about a missing person being found, we always pay close attention,” she said. “Miracles can happen.”

Moisio doesn’t need to be convinced to continue a search. “You never give up,” he said.

Text Only
Local News
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes