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CHILLICOTHE, OH – Word gets around in a small town, when six young women go missing in little more than a year. One by one, four of them have turned up dead in and around Chillicothe, Ohio, sending chilly rumors of a serial killer drifting through the city of 21,000 people. But police say they aren’t convinced that one person is behind the deaths.
“The investigation so far has not produced any evidence that the missing females and deceased females (are) tied to any one person,” said Lt. Mike Preston of the Ross County Sheriff’s Department.
But some common threads are making the serial killer theory stick with locals. The women went to some of the same places and knew some of the same people, a prosecutor has said.
But the big one is that all four of the dead women were found in or near bodies of water. One was wrapped in a sheet. Another had been shot in the head.
Another similarity: hard knocks.
“The investigation has lead us to information that some of the females were battling a heroin addiction and they were prostituting themselves to fund their heroin addiction,” Preston said.
Heroin has become more available in some areas of Ohio, according to a state government analysis.
Some of the women reportedly knew each other from having attended the same drug rehab center.
Here is a list of the six missing women, starting with the first, who disappeared in May 2014.
Charlotte Trego, 27
When she went missing: May 3, 2014
Status: Still missing
Her mother reported Charlotte Trego missing to police after not having seen her for two weeks, police said. She said her daughter was addicted to heroin. Trego has a Playboy bunny tattooed on her right arm along with the name “Chloe.” The name “James” is tattooed above her right breast, according to a missing persons ad posted on a Facebook page dedicated to finding her.
Tameka Lynch, 30
When she went missing: May 2014
A few days after Trego disappeared, Tameka Lynch went missing, Chillicothe police said. A year later, on May 24, 2015, four kayakers discovered a woman’s body — later identified as Lynch — lying on a sandbar in Paint Creek, according to the Ross County Sheriff’s Office.
Her death was ruled a drug overdose, police told WSYX.
Wanda Lemons, 37
When she went missing: November 4, 2014
Status: Still missing
Her mother had not heard from Wanda Lemons for two months when she decided it was time to report her as missing, police said. It was common not to hear from the mother of five for long periods, but when she didn’t call on important holidays, her mother thought something was awry.
A friend said he saw Lemons on November 3, 2014, according to a Facebook page dedicated to finding her. He heard she was leaving for Texas with a truck driver. Lemons has made contact with her adult daughter via text message and posted to Facebook on November 5.
Shasta Himelrick, 20
When she went missing: December 26, 2014
Shasta Himelrick was expecting a baby when she went missing the day after Christmas last year. A text message in the early hours was one of her last signs of life, and shortly afterward, a surveillance camera captured her on video, according to police. Later, Himelrick’s car was found abandoned.
“She took Christmas Day to tell everybody she was pregnant,” her cousin Christopher Wallingford told CNN affiliate WBNS. “She was so happy, and I just want everybody to know she was a good woman.”
On January 2, she was found dead in the Scioto River, according to police. The Ross County coroner found cocaine and oxycodone — a narcotic painkiller — in her system and ruled her death suicide by drowning.
Tiffany Sayre, 26
When she went missing: May 11, 2015
Tiffany Sayre’s body was found on June 20, wrapped in a sheet alongside a creek bed not far from where Lynch’s body had been found four weeks earlier. Sayre was a mother of two, and she also reportedly struggled with drug addiction. She recorded a cell phone video to her family thanking them for their support in her attempt to recover from it, CNN affiliate WCMH reported.
The night she was last heard from, a friend said, Sayre was visiting men at a hotel room, according to a Facebook page dedicated to finding her. Another friend reportedly told police that Sayre had visited the apartment of her late boyfriend, which had been broken into.
Timberly Claytor, 38
Found dead: May 29, 2015
Timberly Claytor, a mother of five, was found dead with three gunshot wounds to her head late last month, CNN affiliate WBNS reported. An old friend, Marcia Pummel, said Claytor confided to her that she was addicted to heroin. Pummel felt the need to pass that on. “I think more people need to talk about it,” she said. “There’s a stigma. Nobody will talk about it.” Pummel said she lost her nephew to a heroin overdose last year.
Call for tips
Though police still don’t necessarily believe that a single person is responsible for all of the women’s fates, they have printed the women’s faces on a flier and distributed it throughout Chillicothe. They hope that someone will give them key tips to help them solve all the cases.
The Sheriff’s Office and police request that anyone with information on the missing and slain women contact the Task Force Hotline at 740-774-FIND (740-774-3463) or email Findme@RossSheriff.com.