Florida Man Murdered in Ohio in Alleged Craigslist Job Scam, Two Arrested

One man was killed and a second was shot but managed to escape.

November 18, 2011, 2:14 PM

Nov. 18, 2011 — -- An apparent job-seeking scam on Craigslist has left one man dead and another man injured. Two men have been arrested in Ohio for the crimes.

The two victims, one from Florida and one from South Carolina, responded to an ad on Craigslist for a job working on an Ohio cattle farm, according to ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS-TV. 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 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 Columbus. Authorities believe robbery was the motive.

Authorities took two suspects into custody on Wednesday but would not release their names. ABC News' Columbus affiliate WSYX identified the men as 16-year-old 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 this morning and read about the murder. Though the paper did not specifically name her son, it identified a 52-year-old man from Noble County who was arrested Wednesday, just like 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 Wednesday morning 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 16-year-old boy was charged Friday with attempted murder and complicity to attempted murder, according to the Associated Press, but authorities would not confirm that Rafferty was the teenager.

"The investigation is moving swiftly but also deliberately," Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum and prosecutor Clifford Sickler said in a news release announcing the charges, according to the Associated Press.

The man from South Carolina was taken to a remote location in Noble County and shot in the arm, but he managed to escape and run to a nearby town where he told authorities about the scheme, according to WEWS.

Shortly after, the Florida man's worried sister called authorities to say that she had not heard from her brother for several days, following his trip to Ohio for the job. With the help of cadaver dogs, authorities found the man's body in a shallow grave near where the first victim was shot. There was also a second, empty shallow grave, which authorities believe was intended for the man who got away.

"It seems that this was just a ruse to lure victims into the trap, most likely to commit a murder and relieve the deceased of their personal property," Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said Thursday about the Craigslist job ad, according to the Associated Press.

On Friday, a judge imposed a gag order so that no further information about the case could be released. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday, but the results have not yet been 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.

Craigslist did not respond to ABC News.com's requests for comment on Friday.

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