Suspected Craigslist Toll Now at 3 Dead, 1 Wounded

ABC News
Suspected Craigslist Toll Now at 3 Dead, 1 Wounded
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Suspected Craigslist Toll Now at 3 Dead, 1 Wounded (ABC News)

The discovery of two new bodies in shallow graves could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that police say lured victims into a lethal robbery scheme in Ohio.

One of the bodies was identified today as Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, Ohio, who answered a Craigslist ad. Kern has not been seen in over a week, according to FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's office announced Saturday that Kern died from gunshot wounds to the head, according to the AP.

A caller's tip on Friday morning led police to Kern's body buried in a shallow grave behind Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.

Hours later and 90 miles away in Noble County, police discovered another shallow grave containing the remains of a white man. The body did not have any identification on him.

An online posting advertising a job working on an Ohio cattle farm is being eyed as a common link in the deaths. The ad has already been implicated in the death of one man and the injury of another.

Both of the first two victims, one of whom is from Florida and the other, South Carolina, had responded to the ad. They were told to bring all of their belongings, as they would be living on the farm.

The man from South Carolina was shot in the arm but managed to escape and inform authorities.

As police investigated the shooting, they found the body of 51-year-old David Pauley of Florida in a shallow grave outside Caldwell, Ohio, about 80 miles east of Columbus.

Two Suspects in Custody

Authorities believe robbery was the motive, and on Nov.16 took two suspects into custody: a 16-year old high school student identified by ABC News' Columbus affiliate WSYX as Brogan Rafferty, and 52-year-old Richard Beasley.

Beasley's mother, Carol Beasley, 70, told ABCNews.com that she was shocked when she picked up her newspaper that morning and read about the murder. Although the paper did not specifically name her son, it identified a 52-year-old man from Noble County who was arrested Wednesday, just as her son was.

"In my wildest dreams, I just couldn't imagine him harming someone," Beasley said. "I never imagined he would do the things he did."

She knew her son had been arrested as he walked down the street, but believed it was related to failure to appear in court for two previous charges — aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution.

"Although he did a lot of types of things, it seems that he worked with people on the border — drug addicts, street people — I just don't know if he crossed over the line or what happened," Beasley said. "It absolutely blew my mind when I read that this morning."

When asked about Brogan Rafferty, Beasley said that she has known him since he was 8 years old, since they go to the same church. Beasley called Brogan a "really nice kid" and said he struggled a bit in school and with his parent's divorce.

"They were friends," Beasley said. "Richard tried to mentor him, get him into history."

Beasley said her son had been struggling financially to make ends meet, working as an unpaid chaplain, and had other problems. She said he had spent time in jail and desperately did not want to go back.

"I've lived long enough to know that you have to be prepared for anything," Beasley said. "I'm just praying they've got the wrong people."

Rafferty is being held at the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center, and Beasley is in custody at the Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.

A judge has imposed a gag order so that no further information about the case could be released.

Craigslist, an online marketplace that hosts ads for a wide variety of sales and services, has been blamed for a number of crimes and deaths, including the 2009 murder of a New York masseuse allegedly killed by a Boston medical student she met through the website, and the 2010 murder of a Tacoma, Wash., man in a home robbery committed by people pretending to be interested in a diamond ring he'd advertised on Craigslist.

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