More than three years after a 30-year-old Middletown mother went missing and was found dead, what happened to her remains a mystery. And officials say without new evidence, the case will likely remain unsolved.
Lindsay Bogan was last seen alive on Sept. 13, 2015. Her skeletal remains were found in a Madison Twp. field on July 11, 2016. But the place of Bogan’s death is unknown, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office report released to the Journal-News.
Middletown police, the lead agency in the investigation, and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over the field on Keister Road where Bogan’s remains were found, still have the case open. But it is matter of opinion as to what that investigation is.
In addition to Bogan’s location of death, her mode and manner of death are also unknown, according to the coroner’s office. Brain matter used for toxicology testing indicted Bogan was positive for 342 mg/g of methamphetamine at the time of her death.
An incomplete skeleton was recovered from the field during hours of searching by police, deputies and the coroner’s office. An examination of the remains by forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray indicates there was no trauma observed in the remains that would have occurred at or near the time of death.
“The case and manner of death cannot be determined,” Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix said in her report.
Middletown police have theories and circumstantial evidence that could point to Bogan being murdered or an overdose death, but much of it is just rumor, officials said.
The sheriff’s office has been involved in the case from the very beginning and would be “happy to work the case” if evidence was developed tying her death to Madison Twp., said Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer.
“We do not consider it a closed case,” he said. “It is being worked as a homicide because of the circumstances surrounding it, even if the cause of death is unknown.”
Middletown police say the case is “pending.”
“The case is closed when the detective thinks he has taken it as far as he can … we are close on this case. We have marked it as pending,” said Middletown police Lt. Scott Reeve. “Which means it’s really not closed but unless we get some new information it is just going to stay in limbo.”
Reeve pointed to the autopsy report, which shows meth in Bogan’s body, and the unknown cause of death as reasons the case may not be a homicide.
“There is no indication Lindsay Bogan is a homicide,” Reeve said. “There is just no evidence of that. When her body was found, it was just bones, and there are no markings on the body, that I know of, to indicate perhaps there is a shot or a stabbing or anything like that. Nothing to indicate foul play.”
That doesn’t mean evidence of a homicide found in soft tissue, such as strangulation, isn’t possible.
Reeve said there have been plenty of rumors that are not backed up by evidence.
“So someone would have had to tell us she was murdered,” he said. “All we ever had was a bunch of rumors and speculation.”
For months, Middletown police followed leads trying to find Bogan, who was reported missing by boyfriend Eric Sexton. Since Bogan’s death, Sexton has served a prison sentence for promoting prostitution, a charge that involved Bogan. At his sentencing, Sexton’s attorney indicated he did not know where Bogan was or what happened to her.
Sexton told police that he last saw Bogan on Sept. 13, 2015, getting into a silver Dodge Durango at the corner of Central Avenue and Baltimore Street. Sexton said he and Bogan had a 9-month-old daughter and were planning to get married.
In July 2016, police searched a residence in the 1500 block of Woodlawn Avenue for evidence. When they arrived, raw sewage had to be pumped from the basement. A week later, the house caught fire.
“There was some speculation her body was in the basement of the home and that is why it was purposely flooded with sewage. There was speculation that was in an effort to conceal some DNA evidence in the basement. But it is just speculation at this point,” Reeve said.
Middletown investigators believe, based on the evidence they have, that Bogan overdosed and her body was transported to the Madison Twp. field. That means if there was enough evidence someone could be charged with gross abuse of a corpse or tampering with evidence, low level felonies.
The statute of limitations never runs out on murder. The statute of limitations on low-level felonies is six years, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“I feel in my heart that someone killed her,” said Opal Bogan, Lindsay’s grandmother, who lives in Tennessee. “I just don’t believe she overdosed.”
The 83-year-old said her oldest granddaughter made bad decisions that led to drug addiction. Bogan aspired to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse, but Opal Bogan said that Lindsay Bogan fell in with the wrong crowd and never finished school.
Opal Bogan said that since a lieutenant assigned to the case left the department she hasn’t received regular updates.
“I don’t even know if anyone is working on her case,” the grandmother said.
The baby Lindsay Bogan left behind is being raised in Ohio and is thriving, Opal Bogan said.
“I think she was trying to leave and they killed her,” Opal Bogan said. “I just need to know what happened.”