In a scene that’s being described as “disturbing,” hundreds of animals, both dead and alive, were removed from a local pet store and residency Tuesday.
Columbus Humane agents seized about 100 reptiles, more than 90 dogs and puppies, and more than 50 livestock animals (turkeys, goats, pigs) from the Petting Zoo Pet Shop on West Broad Street and the owner’s residence on Demorest Road, reports 10TV.
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The rescue and recover mission was the culmination of a months-long investigation into multiple complaints of improper caring of animals.
Columbus Humane will soon make available a list of supplies needed to care for the surviving animals.
Once the owner is in custody, charges will be filed.
After eight shootings this weekend Mayor Andrew J. Ginther gathered with city officials at the Point of Pride building on Monday afternoon to discuss the alarming uptick in neighborhood violence and how the city is going to address it.
The eight shootings over the weekend involved 10 people. Three people all under the age of 26 were murdered in the shootings, the youngest being 15-year-old Marcus Peters.
Since June 1, five teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 have been killed due to gun violence, while 14 others were critically injured.
The surge in gun violence includes a 77 percent increase in shots being blindly fired into residences, 78 percent of homicides due to firearms, and 67 homicides and 469 felonious assaults, which is a 125-percent increase in felonious assaults from 2019, in 2020.
“This problem belongs to each and every one of us, and we must bring all of our resources together to address what is happening in our community,” said Ginther.
Some of the suggestions that Ginther mentioned to solving gun violence issues in Columbus included finding productive opportunities for youth during this time and taking illegal guns off the streets.
Those in attendance at the press conference were Public Safety Director Ned Pettus; Police Chief Tom Quinlan; President and CEO of the Columbus Urban League Stephanie Hightower; Interim Director of Recreation and Parks Paul Rakosky; My Brother’s Keeper Program Manager and Department of Neighborhoods member Chris Suel; and Senior Pastor of City of Grace Church Michael Young.
One of the loudest demands from protestors over the recent months has been for Columbus City Schools to cut ties with the Columbus Division of Police.
While the contracts of 20 resource officers and two sergeants were not renewed by Columbus City Schools when they ended last week, it was not because of pressure from protestors.
As the Columbus City Schools plans around COVID-19 mandates, the current need is for high school students to learn virtually from home. If that is still the case in the fall, there is no need for resource officers in the high schools.
Sgt. Joe Albert stated that they would be ready to work on a new contract if Columbus City Schools welcomes high school students back to its buildings, however, there is currently no work for resource officers when high schools are empty.
The collective bargaining agreement that the police union has with CPD states that officers must have 70 days notice before employment termination. The officers whose contracts were not renewed will be repositioned within the CPD and will have an opportunity to take other jobs within the division.
CPD is ready to re-position resource officers in high schools if the opportunity arises before the 2020-21 school year. With the increase in school violence, especially violence involving guns, resource officers have been a very important presence in schools in deterring violence.
Their presence is also extremely important in building police-community relationships.
"Making relationships with the students there (in school) provides a face to a police officer, and I know in the past many students have later on seen that police officer out on the street and they're more willing to go up and talk to that officer because they have a relationship from knowing them inside their high school."
Sgt. Joe Albert, Columbus Division of Police
While there are those who oppose students going back to school in-person due to health concerns, there are also many reasons supporting in-person classes this upcoming school year.
According to Albert, the CPD had a “tremendous uptick in gun violence involving juveniles” since the pandemic closed schools down, a major concern for the police department right now.
Another issue is enforcing truancy. While police officers could physically visit the homes of students missing school, Albert says that there has “not been any communication on how we would enforce [truancy].”
Recreation centers and pools opening have not been enough to keep the Columbus student population out of trouble, so the school district will be faced with a tough decision about reopening schools this fall.
Recent advancements in genealogy testing may be the much-needed push to close the thousands of cold cases that exist in Ohio. The recent closure to a 1982 Columbus homicide provides hope.
On Friday, the Columbus Division of Police announced the resolution of “one of CPD’s most intense investigations” at the Kimberley K. Jacobs Neighborhood Policing Center.
Those in attendance at the conference included Sgt. Terry McConnell; Det. Dana Croom; Deputy Chief Tim Becker; director of the CPD Forensic Crime Lab Angela Farrington; Hallie Dreyer of the BCI Forensic Crime Lab; Ofc. Greg Colarich; director at AdvanceDNA Amanda Reno; Sheriff Dallas Baldwin; Deputy Chief Greg Bodker.
Genetic genealogy testing and further police research played a crucial role in bringing some closure to the sexual assault and murder of 8-year-old Kelly Ann Prosser. Prosser was abducted while walking home from Indianola Elementary School on Sept. 20, 1982. The case was also recently brought to the public’s attention in part due to The 5th Floor–a podcast started by CPC dedicated to unearthing and closing cold cases.
After someone came across her raincoat, her body was traced to and discovered in a Madison County cornfield along A.W. Wilson Rd. on Sept. 22.
Over the next 38 years–with the unending support of Prosser’s family, thousands of hours of detective and police work, and a recent partnership with Advanced DNA–there is finally some closure to the ‘82 cold case.
Bodker mentioned that research into DNA evidence drastically improved around 2014 and ‘15. In March of this year, the CPD partnered with AdvancedDNA. It used to take months for DNA tests to come back; now law enforcement can now get results in a couple of weeks. The law enforcement services they utilized through AdvancedDNA were GenMatch and Family Tree DNA.
“Imagine in 1982 collecting something that you know one day wouldn’t exist,” Bodker said.
As of Friday, it can “positively and conclusively” be said that the killer was Harold Warren Jarrell. Jarrell is deceased and DNA from a third cousin was obtained to solve Prosser’s murder. Previously, 23 persons of interest were investigated and cleared in the case.
In 1977, Jarrell was charged with abducting an 8-year-old from Tamarack Circle on the northside of Columbus. He was released in January 1982.
Prosser’s family wasn’t in attendance because they “thought it was too soon,” but the family did provide a statement at the press conference that was read by McConnell. The statement included praise to the Columbus Division of Police homicide detectives and the advanced DNA investigative techniques. The statement also provided glimpses into the life of a promising, sweet, young girl.
“One moment we had this dazzling, mischievous 8-year-old little girl. Then suddenly all we had left were memories, photographs that will never age, a calendar marking a dreadful new ‘holiday,’ a grave, and pieces of Kelly’s life stored in a box.”
A statement from Prosser's family read on Friday by McConnell
Prosser’s mom had stayed close to the investigation all these years, even sending notes to the police department with pictures of Kelly.
The future does look bright for genealogical testing and its importance in solving cold cases. Right now, there is a case that the CPD is investigating using this knowledge. The police are also in the middle of a project to identify as many other cases as possible for this type of testing.
“We are pursuing those cases with the same vigor we pursued this case,” Booker said. “We are hunting you, and when we get the tools to hunt you, we’ll bring you to justice.”