By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer
BOSTON TWP.: Authorities are trying to identify decomposed human remains hikers found in an isolated area near a Cuyahoga Valley National Park trail.
The unidentified skeletal remains were scattered along with articles of clothing.
Chief Ranger Chris Ryan said investigators could not immediately determine if the remains are from a man or woman nor could they say how long they had been in the park.
A law enforcement source said the tattered remains of what appears to be a bra were located during the search. Nothing other than bone and clothing was recovered, park officials said Tuesday.
The discovery immediately sparked speculation in the disappearance of 19-year-old Taylor Robinson of Akron. A police detective investigating that case was at the scene Tuesday afternoon and joined in the evidence search.
Robinson, a Kent State University student, has not been seen since May 3, when her mother dropped her off at an Akron home, where she worked overnight as a home health-care aide. The next morning, Robinson’s coat and shoes were found inside the home, but she was not there when her mother arrived.
Akron police, the FBI and two private investigators have been investigating the disappearance. Robinson’s family was contacted by police Tuesday about the discovery.
Jeff Rucker, Robinson’s stepfather, visited the recovery site later in the afternoon. He said he and his wife, Carmella, are trying to cope with the uncertainty.
“I got tired of sitting around the house,” Rucker said on his way to the park. “It’s just pretty hectic waiting around.”
The FBI’s Evidence Response Team spent most of Tuesday searching a thicket near the Valley Picnic Area off Riverview Road. Cadaver dogs were brought in to help.
Rangers said two men found a human jaw bone there Monday afternoon after they exited a trail and ventured into a wooded terrain near the recreation area.
Ryan said the skeletal remains and clothing were scattered in a wide area and that the north and south edges of a walking trail were being searched. No weapon or other evidence was found during the initial part of the search.
“The death investigation is considered a homicide until proven otherwise,” he said.
The small picnic area near where the remains were found is located off Riverview Road about a mile south of state Route 303. That area was closed off to visitors.
Once the FBI is finished gathering evidence from the scene, Ryan said, the remains will be turned over to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. The remains then will be examined in an effort to determine a manner and cause of death and to connect them to any missing person.
Ryan cautioned that there are several missing-person reports from both Akron and Cleveland.
“We do not know whether the body was brought here or from somewhere else,” he said.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.