Middletown police identified the victims as Dashaua Brown, 29, and Aaron Paige, 31. Both were scheduled for autopsies Friday by the Butler County Coroner’s Office.
The white 2016 Hyundai in which they were found was stopped about 12:48 a.m. by Middletown police at the intersection of Grand and Marshall and Brown, and the driver was issued a warning for lack of headlights.
The caller, whom the Journal-News is not identifying for his safety because an arrest has not yet been made, said in an interview that the car had tinted windows that were rolled up, and the front doors were locked.
He said he heard nothing during the night “not a peep.”
The caller said he is new to the area and had put off calling a home security company, “you can bet I called one (Thursday).”
Middletown police Chief David Birk said officers were delayed getting to the scene because the call was received during a shift change, and it didn’t initially indicate there was foul play.
MORE: 47 people indicted in Butler, Warren counties
“It happened between inspection, so shift change and inspection happens at 6:30,” Birk said. “We had officers coming and going and they then have to sterilize their car. They have to spray the car down, wait and then wipe it down because we want to make sure we are killing the coronavirus. That was the delay.
“We don’t have enough cars for everybody, so we were waiting for the midnight shift to come and waiting for the cars to be clean out to go back out.”
He noted the call did not report injured or sick people, but it was instead a call about a car crashed into another parked car.
Brown was driving the white sedan when it exited off on I-75 and turned on to Ohio 122, Birk said. The car did not have its headlights on despite the darkness of the early morning.
“I sign of a DUI or suspicious activity,” Birk said.
The officer confirmed registration of the vehicle and identities of the people inside. Birk said there was no reason to hold them.
“We are trying to compile as much evidence as we can,” he said. “These individuals are from Cleveland so it makes our job a little bit harder. They have been follow up on leads all day.”
Surveillance video has been requested from residences and businesses throughout the area, he said.
Anyone with information about the incident should call Detective Ryan Morgan at 513-425-7700.