ASHTABULA — Police have found the body of an Ashtabula woman who went missing a week ago, and three people are behind bars charged for their alleged involvement in her murder.
Police discovered the body of Crystal Miller Garney, 46, wrapped in plastic and cloth Monday afternoon in the railroad right-of-way at Route 167 and March Road in Jefferson Township. Garney was last seen at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 at her East 14th Street home, according to the police.
"She had been [in the railroad right-of-way] for several days," said Thomas Despenses Jr., an investigator with the Ashtabula County Coroner's Office. "Based on the police investigation, we are treating Garney's death as a homicide."
On Tuesday, Daniel A. Taylor, who lived with Garney, faced charges of murder, an unclassified felony; tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony, at his initial appearance in Municipal Court. If convicted he faces life in prison.
Prosecutors asked Judge Laura DiGiacomo to set Taylor's bond at $250,000 cash, surety or property, but DiGiacomo said because of the violent nature of the crime, she was setting bond at $500,000 cash, surety or property.
Taylor's alleged accomplices, Randall D. Campbell, and Heather A. Tinker, are both charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony, according to court records.
DiGiacomo set each of their bonds at $50,000 cash, surety or property, even though prosecutors asked for $25,000 cash, surety or property.
Campbell and Tinker face a maximum of five years in prison.
The threesome are being held in the city jail at the Justice Center.
Ashtabula police detectives and members of the APD Narcotics Investigative Unit suspected foul play early in the investigation, Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said.
"[Monday afternoon] investigators received information that led them to the location of the body of a deceased female suspected to be that of Crystal Garney," he said. "The official cause of death is yet to be determined, however, a gunshot wound is suspected."
Taylor, Campbell and Tinker were questioned by police and then arrested on charges.
If any of the three defendants make bail, they must wear a GPS tracking device, DiGiacomo said.
Garney, the mother of two children, was a waitress. A native of Painesville, she graduated from Riverside High School.
The Ashtabula Police Department worked the case with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department, the Ashtabula Coroner's Office, the Conneaut Police Department and the Windsor Township Fire Department.
"We appreciate all of the help that we received from these agencies, which was invaluable to us, in bringing this investigation to a conclusion," Stell said.