Human remains believed to be a missing Lorain man were discovered June 22 at a Pittsfield Township farm.
Clarence Thomas disappeared in October 2002 after last being seen with Michael York.
At the time, York was sought for questioning in the case but fled the state before he could be found, according to investigators. He was wanted on felony warrants.
Lorain police recently discovered York was serving multiple life sentences in West Virginia for murders committed in that state.
Believing he killed Thomas and disposed of the body in southern Lorain County, officers brought York back June 21 to face a grand jury, according to a statement by Lorain police.
He also led investigators to 15290 Quarry Rd. near US 20 just southwest of Oberlin.
A search there by Lorain police, sheriff’s deputies, and the Bureau of Criminal Identification Crime Scene Unit turned up the remains.
John Dovin, owner of the Quarry Road property since 2004, said he granted officers permission to conduct the search.
“They had Mr. York with them and he led them right to the spot,” he said. “The investigators seemed like they had no idea where the spot was beforehand. It wasn’t even that far off the road where they found the body. It’s kind of unbelievable. You see things like this all over society nowadays but when it’s on your land or in your neighborhood it still comes as a shock.”
Pittsfield Township trustee Mark McConnell was thankful for the quick investigation and discovery.
“We just want to give credit to the law enforcement officials for being able to solve this problem,” he said. “It’s amazing what they’ve been able to track down after 14 years. Everyone involved in this investigation deserves a great amount of kudos for their diligence.”
Now the county coroner has possession of the remains and is working to conclusively identify them.
Wellington mayor Hans Schneider said he hopes the new findings will give a sense of closure to Thomas’ family.
“It’s one of those things that you read about in some other state, city, or village, but when it’s local it gives you a moment of pause,” he said. “It doesn’t bring their loved one back, but maybe they can rest a little easier knowing the body has been found.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.