Second Death in Craigslist Job Scam?

PHOTO: Police investigate crime scene in Akron
Share
Copy

A caller's tip led police to a body buried in a shallow grave behind Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, that might be connected to a job-seeking scam on Craigslist, the FBI said today.

The online job ad has already been implicated in the death of one man and the injury of another.

Although the identity of the body found this morning is still unknown, The Associated Press reported it might be that of a missing man in the area, Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.

"It could be, it could not be," FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson told ABCNews.com. "We do not know until we get that autopsy."

The coroner will not examine the body until Saturday, she said.

"Cadaver dogs were the ones who hit on the grave -- it wasn't a situation where someone would walk by and see it," Anderson said.

Investigators finished recovering the body around 1 p.m., she said. "It's a tedious process to make sure evidence wasn't disturbed."

Now investigators are working to find out whether or not the man found dead today had answered an ad on Craigslist for a job working on an Ohio cattle farm.

Authorities had already identified two victims, one from Florida and one from South Carolina, who had responded to that ad. The men were told to bring all of their belongings, as they would be living on the farm.

The man from South Carolina was shot in the arm but managed to escape and inform authorities. As police investigated the shooting, they found the body of a missing man from Florida in a shallow grave outside Caldwell, Ohio, about 80 miles east of Columbus.

Authorities believe robbery was the motive, and on Nov.16 took two suspects into custody: a 16-year old high school student identified by ABC News' Columbus affiliate WSYX as Brogan Rafferty, and 52-year-old Richard Beasley.

Beasley's mother, Carol Beasley, 70, told ABCNews.com that she was shocked when she picked up her newspaper that morning and read about the murder. Although the paper did not specifically name her son, it identified a 52-year-old man from Noble County who was arrested Wednesday, just as her son was. "In my wildest dreams, I just couldn't imagine him harming someone," Beasley said. "I never imagined he would do the things he did."

She knew her son had been arrested as he walked down the street but believed it was related to failure to appear in court for two previous charges — aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution.

"Although he did a lot of types of things, it seems that he worked with people on the border — drug addicts, street people — I just don't know if he crossed over the line or what happened," Beasley said. "It absolutely blew my mind when I read that this morning."

When asked about Brogan Rafferty, Beasley said that she has known him since he was 8 years old, since they go to the same church. Beasley called Brogan a "really nice kid" and said he struggled a bit in school and with his parent's divorce.

"They were friends," Beasley said. "Richard tried to mentor him, get him into history." Beasley said her son had been struggling financially to make ends meet, working as an unpaid chaplain, and had other problems. She said he had spent time in jail and desperately did not want to go back.

"I've lived long enough to know that you have to be prepared for anything," Beasley said. "I'm just praying they've got the wrong people."

Rafferty is being held at the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center, and Beasley is in custody at the Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.

A judge has imposed a gag order so that no further information about the case could be released.

Craigslist, an online marketplace that hosts ads for a wide variety of sales and services, has been blamed for a number of crimes and deaths, including the 2009 murder of a New York masseuse allegedly killed by a Boston medical student she met through the website, and the 2010 murder of a Tacoma, Wash., man in a home robbery committed by people pretending to be interested in a diamond ring he'd advertised on Craigslist.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...