A serial killer is most likely on the loose in Ohio. In the past year, at least six women have gone missing from the Ohio town of Chillicothe, and four bodies have been found nearby. The victimology in each of the discovered bodies is similar; the victims have been found dumped in streams or rivers; reports indicate that the women were using drugs, and some were involved in prostitution. Additionally, some knew each other, they hung out together, in the same areas, and some traded their bodies for drugs. The small town of 21,000, located 50 miles from Columbus, has been on a downward spiral since it was the state’s capital some 200 years ago- drug usage, prostitution, and other crimes are on the rise.
“We’ve got too many young ladies missing”, Ross County Sheriff George Lavender said last week. Initially, the “missing” included Tameka Lynch (30); Charlotte Trego (28); Wanda Lemons (38); Shasta Himelrick (20); Tiffany Sayre (26); and Timberly Claytor.
Claytor was found dead in May- she had been shot three times in the head; Lynch was found dead in a creek in May; Himelrick was found dead two months later- drowned in a river; Sayre’s body was discovered wrapped in a bed sheet and hidden inside a culvert. When the bodies were first found, the police did not attribute the cause of death to a serial killer, drug overdose, and drowning had been assigned as the probable cause of the death. Now that all the similarities are known, the focus has turned to a single killer or killers. Still, Lt. Preston, according to the Washington Post, cautiously said, “I don’t want to come out and say ‘yes, we have a serial killer’, but it’s a small community that we live in … and the number of females who have come up missing, and then the bodies that we found, that’s quite a bit for our community”. Reports say profiling experts are working on the case.
Serial killings involving prostitutes (and we do not know for sure whether any of the victims above were indeed prostitutes) are not unusual. We have called for the legalization of prostitution, in part, for precisely that reason. We have said prostitutes need more protection because they often place themselves in dangerous and precarious situations; they regularly meet with strangers and go places where there are no witnesses. They frequently use alcohol and drugs that cloud their thinking, furthering endangering themselves. By legalizing prostitution, these dangers can be greatly reduced, lives saved, addictions and medical illnesses treated (by regulations) and money spent on prosecutions lowered.