8 unsolved cases that continue to haunt Butler County families

There are numerous notable unsolved cases in the region. The Journal-News will continue following these cases when new information becomes available.

Here is a sampling of notable cases:

Nancy Abrams

Nancy Abrams was working on March 10, 1985, at one of the few businesses open overnight in Middletown.

A newspaper delivery woman saw the 33-year-old mother at the King Kwick gas station on Breiel Boulevard as she made her early morning drop-off. But a short time later, the Madison Twp. native who enjoyed bowling and bicycling was found dead in a pool of blood near a storage room behind the convenience store counter.

A man, John Francis, was also found dead at the back of the store. Both had been shot in the back of the head.

In the following months and years, police chased leads and exhausted several theories, including exhuming Abrams’ body to gather further evidence, hypnotizing people who were in the area outside the store at the time of the double murder and developing a composite sketch of a man the newspaper delivery woman said she saw at the gas station.

MORE: Middletown double homicide haunts family, police 33 years later

William “Billy” DiSilvestro

William “Billy” DiSilvestro, 28, vanished eight years ago.

It was bitter cold during the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2011, when “Billy D” left a Rossville neighborhood house after a party and was never seen again. He left his cellphone at a friend’s house and had no money, according to his family.

In 2015, a tip led Butler County Sheriff’s detectives on a massive search, digging up a wooded area near New Miami in search of DiSilvestro. But after a five-hour hunt with cadaver dogs, no sign of the missing Hamilton man was found at the St. Clair Twp. location pointed out by a confidential informant, according to Butler County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mike Craft.

Sheriff’s detectives have followed multiple tips in their search for DiSilvestro. In July 2011, a rescue team spent two days searching murky canal water on Joe Nuxhall Boulevard. An inmate passed a tip that DiSilvestro had been killed, put in a barrel and thrown in the water. But the search only turned up hubcaps and discarded furniture.

Also in 2011, a retired Chicago police officer called detectives after seeing DiSilvestro’s face on a missing ad in a trade magazine. The man thought he saw DiSilvestro at a gas station between the Florida state line and Tampa, but he could not pinpoint the location.

MORE: New tip leads to massive search for missing Butler County man

Chelsea Johnson

Chelsea Johnson, 15, at student at Fairfield Options Academy, was found April 16, 2012 stabbed to death near a Fairfield creek close to the intersection of Pleasant Avenue and Nilles Road. And seven years later, her killer remains unknown and uncharged.

George D. Davis II, of Cincinnati, who was sent to prison for drug trafficking, importuning, and having weapons under disability for attempting to exchange heroin for sex with Chelsea was released from prison, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Authorities have said a grand jury did not return an indictment against a suspect in the case, despite a year-long investigation in which the Butler County Sheriff’s Office took a fresh look at the case.

Fairfield Police and Butler County Sheriff’s detectives and the county prosecutor have said the case is not forgotten and they continue to work on any leads as they get them.

MORE: Police still working to find who killed Fairfield teen

Katelyn Markham

Fairfield’s Katelyn Markham, a 22-year-old art student, went missing from her Dorshire Drive residence during the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2011. Police and volunteers looked for months to find the young woman who vanished leaving behind her purse, keys and her dog.

The case gained national media attention as days turned into months with no news on Markham’s whereabouts.

Then on April 7, 2013, skeletal remains were found in a remote wooded area in Cedar Grove, Ind. Within days, confirmation came that the remains were Katelyn’s, and the Franklin County Coroner ruled her death a homicide. However, the exact cause of death could not be determined.

Her case has been investigated by the Fairfield Police Department and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. A reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Markham’s killer has grown to $100,000 over the years.

MORE: Police have person of interest, seek public help in Markham case

Joey Oakley

Joey Oakley, 19, a student at Options Academy in Fairfield, was found dead Aug. 30, 2012 near a creek in Fairfield. He was shot several times with a small caliber weapon in the chest and became the city’s third unsolved homicide that year and the second at that location, police said.

A crowd of nearly 60 people attended a candlelight vigil where Oakley was found. After several minutes of silence, the crowd released some balloons and shouted, “We love you Joey.”

“He was a good kid,” said David Rittenhouse, Oakley’s brother-in-law. “He didn’t deserve to have his life snapped out this early.”

MORE: Teen’s death the third unsolved homicide in Fairfield this year

Christopher “CJ” Sandle

Christopher “C.J.” Sandle Jr. was shot to death at about 6:15 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2016, just three days after his 20th birthday, in his bedroom on Millville Avenue.

His homicide remains unsolved, despite a reward of $10,000 offered for information leading to the conviction of suspects in the homicide.

Earlier this year, on the third anniversary of her son’s murder, Rebecca Sandle said: “The person who came in our home and murdered my son was not kind, and had they thought twice about their actions, my son would be here today, so I am asking on Jan. 13 that you perform a small random act of kindness in honor of my son.”

Sandle was home with her son and 9-year-old daughter that morning.

Hamilton Police Sgt. Richard Burkhardt said the case remains open, but information is needed to move it forward.

MORE: Her son was killed 3 years ago. Now this Hamilton mother is asking for kindness to honor him.

Teresa Shields

During the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2017, Teresa Shields, 26, was shot to death in the passenger seat of a vehicle at the intersection of Wicoff Street and Roosevelt Boulevard in Middletown.

While her murder remains unsolved, the investigation has brought about many arrests that have taken guns off the street, Middletown police said.

Twenty-eight shell casings from large caliber guns were recovered from the shooting, according to Middletown Detective Steve Winters.

Detectives traveled to Chicago and recovered a vehicle they said is linked to those involved in the shooting.

Shields’ boyfriend, Steve Waldon, 34, has been sentenced prison for seven years for felony drug abuse and drug trafficking. Three others have been arrested and received prison sentences.

MORE: Middletown murder unsolved, but investigation takes guns off streets

Nancy Theobald

Nancy Theobald’s body was found in December 1977 in West Chester Twp. after she went missing from her Cincinnati neighborhood.

Theobald was a University of Cincinnati student when she left her part-time job at Arby’s in Clifton to walk home on Nov. 16, 1977. She was never seen alive again.

One month later, on Dec. 27, Theobald’s body was found near a creek in the 6000 block of Beckett Road, according to Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Joe Ventre.

“Her arms were bound, there was a rope around her neck, and she was partially nude,” Ventre said.

But the investigation resulted in no arrests.

MORE: Case of woman found dead in West Chester creek gets new attention 40 years later

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