A father and son have been charged with the murder of an unidentified man who was found Wednesday evening at an apartment complex in the small community of Yatesville, near Bloomingburg.
German Posadas-Cruz, 49, and German Cruz, 30, are both being held at an undisclosed jail in Illinois on an unclassified felony of murder. The identity of the victim is being withheld at this time until positive identification is made and family members are notified, Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said.
Deputies were dispatched Wednesday shortly before 7 p.m. following reports of a person found unresponsive at the old schoolhouse that’s been converted into an apartment complex, located at 11928 State Route 38. “We received a call from other tenants of the apartment about an unresponsive male,” said Stanforth.
Sheriff’s detectives were called to the scene, as well as members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation after first responders found “indicators of foul play in the death,” Stanforth said. The Fayette County Coroner’s Office and Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade also responded to the scene.
“As soon as the first responding deputy walked in, he knew he had a crime scene,” said Stanforth. “We secured the scene immediately upon arrival. Because of the obvious signs of trauma about the body, we started it as a criminal homicide investigation. We found blood in the residence and on the body and there were signs of head trauma.”
The body has been transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy. As of Friday afternoon, a ruling on the cause of death had not been made. A preliminary autopsy report should be released shortly, Stanforth said.
After the body was discovered, detectives interviewed residents of the apartment complex and several of the victim’s co-workers. Two suspects were identified and arrested without incident at an undisclosed location in Illinois late Thursday afternoon, according to Stanforth. Both were being interviewed by detectives from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon.
“We believe that the son lived in the apartment complex and that the father was also living here,” said Stanforth. Stanforth said he believes that both were employed in Madison County. “Through our interview process, we were able to identify the victim’s place of employment and we were able to obtain enough information to identify a suspect and a vehicle. Then we had a second suspect identified.”
An all-points bulletin was issued and the two suspects were located. “Temporary warrants were issued and they were both arrested. They were together at the time,” said Stanforth.
The motive and whether there was a murder weapon involved is still under investigation.
“The suspects may shed some light on that when they are interviewed or they may not,” Stanforth said. “The body was there for what we believe was just a matter of hours before it was discovered. The forced entry question is still under investigation as is whether there was a murder weapon. BCI is investigating other signs of struggle. This is still a very active investigation.”
Stanforth said he’s uncertain whether the victim lived alone.
Because the suspects are being held in an out-of-state jurisdiction, they must go through an extradition process before court proceedings begin in Fayette County. Stanforth said the process could take weeks.
“Unless they agree to come back voluntarily, we have to go through a legal process through the courts to bring them back to Fayette County,” he said.
Stanforth thanked his detectives for their excellent police work, as well as BCI, and the Greene County and Hamilton County sheriff’s offices for their assistance. Greene County and Hamilton County assisted by providing interpreters who helped in interviewing the Hispanic residents of the apartment complex.
“The initial responding officer, Deputy Dirk Witherspoon, took appropriate action to protect the scene. As did Sergeant Mike Payton,” Stanforth said. “They both took prompt command of the scene and got the wheels rolling in the right direction. When we first walked into this scene, we had no suspects. Then within just 24 hours, we have two in custody.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica