The cause of Katelyn Markham’s death remains a mystery — one that her father and a private investigator believe will not be solved by current police investigators.
Dave Markham was joined by Florida private investigator J. Ryan Green and attorney Tina Barrett for a press conference, where he asked that the Butler County Sheriff’s Office take over the investigation into the death of his daughter.
“I am willing to take a look at the case and see if there is anything we can do,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told the Journal-News Friday.
“I have instructed my staff to make contact with Fairfield (police) today, and we will come down to take a look at the case,” he said.
Markham choked up several times, making his plea directly to the sheriff: “Father to father, I am begging you.”
Green said there is a new piece of evidence he had to fight to be processed for DNA that could break the case wide open. But he declined to comment further, just noting the evidence was more available for testing four years ago, but Fairfield police did not do so.
“There could be an arrest if (the DNA test) comes back favorably,” Green said. He added he had to “track down and purchase” the evidence that he learned about while interviewing one the last two people to see Katelyn alive.
Markham said it is going into the fifth year since his daughter was last seen alive, and he still has no answers.
“At his point, I am devastated by the missed opportunities,” Markham said, adding his daughter’s case is solvable with more aggressive investigators, such as those in the sheriff’s office.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office was asked by the family of another Fairfield homicide victim whose death is unsolved to take over the case from Fairfield police. The sheriff’s office investigated the murder of Chelsea Johnson for a year and did not get an indictment against the suspect.
Green said that case “was jacked up when it went to the sheriff’s office.”
He said, “draw your own conclusions,” when asked who botched the investigation.
Katelyn Markham, a 21-year-old art student, disappeared from her Fairfield apartment on Aug. 13, 2011. Her skeletal remains were found at a dump site in a wooded area in rural Indiana in 2013. A coroner ruled her death a homicide, but the cause of death remains unknown.
Police never publicly identified a suspect. Katelyn Markham was last seen alive by her fiance, John Carter, who reported her missing.
When she vanished, she left her purse, keys and dog at her Fairfield apartment. Police and volunteers looked for years to find her.
In the past, Dave Markham and Green have called for Fairfield to assign new detectives to the case, which was declined by Police Chief Mike Dickey. However, more than one officer from that department is continuing to investigate, he told the Journal-News.
On Friday afternoon, Dickey said the department is willing to work with other agencies.
“We are open to other law enforcement agencies reviewing the investigation. We have spoken with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and BCI. We will try to arrange a meeting with them in the near future,” Dickey said.
In addition to Fairfield, Indiana State Police and Green, Frank Smith, a local private investigator and retired Butler County Sheriff’s Office investigator, are all involved in the investigation.
The case gained national media attention as days turned into months with no news on Katelyn Markham’s whereabouts.
No decisive evidence has turned up even though a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer has increased to $100,000.
Dave Markham said he has always believed someone killed his daughter by accident or in the heat of the moment, and that there was a cover up.
Last year, Green said he had interviewed two people, one of which failed a polygraph test, and they have information about what happened to Katelyn. But Fairfield detectives failed to act in a timely manner to interrogate the individuals themselves, Green said, and may have missed an opportunity to advance the case.
Green said Friday, he is still investigating three theories about Katelyn’s death: it was a homicide, an accident or a drug overdose.
Smith told the Journal-News on Thursday that he too is still actively investigating.
Over the years, many rumors and theories, some fueled by social media, have surfaced as to what happened to Katelyn. One theory is that she died of a drug overdose, and those with her panicked, taking her body to Indiana and dumping it on a rural road in Franklin County.
Indiana State Police Detective Vance Patton has said that 95 percent of Katelyn’s body was recovered, but there is no indication of how she died. There was also no sign of a struggle at her condo.
“We are 99 percent sure she died or was killed in Ohio,” Patton said, adding a drug overdose does fit with some of the circumstances known about the case. “But there are other theories too.”
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