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Unsolved Ohio: Who killed Peggy Andrews near OSU in 1962?

Regina Fox



How does a well-liked, 19-year-old, small town girl wind up dead in a Columbus garage? Unfortunately, even after nearly 60 years, no one knows.

The lifeless body of Mary Margaret “Peggy” Andrews was found in a garage near the Ohio State campus on September 20, 1962. She was shot three times in the face and—judging by the condition of her clothing when investigators arrived—sexually assaulted.

Peggy moved out of her parents’ home almost immediately after graduating from her Catholic high school near Steubenville, Ohio in 1961. Along with two other young women, Peggy lived in a boarding house on 18th Avenue near Buckeye Donuts. She enrolled in night classes at the Columbus Business University (now Bradford School) and worked full time as an accountant’s secretary.

She was smart, well-liked, and deeply religious. People close to her described her as “carefree” and “lighthearted,” reports Columbus Monthly.

It was a Thursday at 5:00 PM when Peggy left her downtown workplace before heading to class. She met up with her two roommates, Carol Maxwell and Carol Eick, and two male classmates outside her office. Typically, Peggy would’ve taken the bus with her roommates, but she wasn’t feeling well that day. Instead, she caught a ride with her friend and classmate Ron Negutt to avoid the uncomfortable bus commute.

He pulled up to Peggy’s boarding house and watch her walk to her door under the streetlamp light. Negutt took off before she had gotten inside, eager to meet his buddies at the 7-11 Club. He arrived at the bar around 9:30 PM, reports Columbus Monthly.

This was also the time Maxwell and Eick say they arrived back at the boarding house. Both women, along with the housemothers, waited for Peggy’s signature high-heeled entrance through the back door, but she never came.


Meanwhile, Columbus Business University student Gary Ontko was moving into his new apartment on Woodruff Avenue. Around 11:30 PM, Ontko volunteered to help out his roommate who had forgotten to roll up his car windows.

He approached the garage cautiously as he was new to his surroundings. As he grew closer, that’s when he saw them: a pair of human legs illuminating in the moonlight.

Peggy’s purse contents were strewn about, her long red coat was covered in dirt, but the small black bow remained pinned to her curly brown hair. Her school books were discovered neatly stacked on the ground behind her boarding house.

Everybody in Peggy’s life, including Negutt who was the last known person to see her alive, were cleared as suspects. Police expanded their search to registered sex offenders in the area, which garnered a possible link. A .22-caliber pistol found in a university district drain spout in 1963 supported the link, but did not cement it.

Another break in the case occurred decades later in 2000. Forensic scientists extracted DNA from a stain on the back of Peggy’s shirt and tested it against DNA samples obtained at local, state, and federal crime scenes. The tests garnered no results.

This stain just may be the key that unlocks the entire mystery. Now, if they could only find a match.

Anyone with additional information or questions regarding this case should submit a tip.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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Advancements in genealogy testing, podcast help bring closure to ‘82 cold case




Photo by Zak Kolesar

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.

Photo by Zak Kolesar

“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.”

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Columbus firefighter on leave after attempting sexual conduct with teen

614now Staff



A Columbus firefighter is being charged with attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

According to court documents per 10TV, 54-year-old Walter Lash is on leave without pay following conduct involving a 15-year-old girl on Feb. 26.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin released a statement to 10TV on the charge:

“We have been aware of the charges against Lash. This is devastating to the division and is in no way representative of the values that define us as public servants. Lash will be afforded due process in court as anyone would be and then will face appropriate actions by the division of fire.”

Lash being held at the Franklin County Jail, and is due to be arraigned on Thursday.

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2 former OSU football players facing rape, kidnapping charges

614now Staff



Two Ohio State University football players have been arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping.

Amir I. Riep, 21, and Jahsen L. Wint, 21, were charged late Tuesday by Columbus police and are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in Franklin County Municipal Court, reports Columbus Dispatch.

The incident is alleged to have occurred the evening of Feb. 4 at the apartment Riep and Wint share on Sawmill Place Boulevard.

The two men have been dismissed from the Ohio State football team.

To read more from the affidavit filed by Columbus police about the alleged incident, visit The Dispatch.

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