SALEM - An on-again, off-again relationship ended Wednesday with 32-year-old Samantha L. Shasteen found dead in her Oak Street home and 34-year-old Mason M. Feisel charged with her murder.
Salem Police Detective Dave Talbert said he would rather not go into detail about what Feisel said when he interviewed him, but announced late Wednesday afternoon that he was arresting him for murder.
He said the complaint accuses Feisel of purposely causing the death of Samantha Shasteen on or about June 5, 2013. Feisel, whose address was listed as 236 Afton Ave., Boardman, was taken to the county jail where he will await an initial appearance in county Municipal Court.
An autopsy was expected to be performed this morning at the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office with Talbert in attendance. Columbiana County Coroner Dr. William Graham Jr. and one of his investigators, Sunny Bowers, were both at the scene at 2107 Oak St., just west of Southeast Boulevard. They issued no cause of death or manner of death at that point, pending the autopsy.
Graham said he examined the victim and "saw nothing that could cause death," explaining there was no injury in plain view, although he suspects there was some type of head injury. He said he estimated death occurred sometime the prior evening.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the department received a 911 call at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday asking for police and an ambulance to respond to the address on Oak Street where they found a man who said his daughter needed help.
Officers, first responders from the Salem Fire Department and a KLG Ambulance crew found a deceased female in the bathroom, later identifying her as Shasteen, who lived at the residence with her 4-year-old daughter. Shasteen's father told police that when he arrived, a man he knew was in the garage and when he came back out of the residence, the man was gone.
Panezott said the father gave police a description of the man, who was wearing black shorts and no shirt, and they started searching the neighboring yards. Lt. Charles Shafer found the man under a tree in a yard two doors down, with cuts to both arms and his neck.
"As we approached him, it appeared he was cutting himself in the neck," Panezott said, noting he was using a piece of glass covered in blood.
The man was identified as Feisel and the cuts appeared self-inflicted. He was taken into protective custody after initially refusing commands to get on his stomach several times, then was transported to Salem Community Hospital where he was evaluated, treated for his injuries while accompanied by police and later released. He was placed under arrest at the hospital immediately after his release.
Panezott said the department had not been called to the residence before. He had no indication that anyone else had been at the home at the time of the incident. The pre-schooler who lived there had spent the night with her grandparents. When asked why the family member had shown up at the home in the morning, he said the father was checking on her, but he had not been briefed on why.
Investigators were searching the Oak Street residence and had received a consent to search Feisel's Boardman residence. The Homicide Task Force was called to help out with the case, with Talbert as lead investigator, assisted by fellow Salem Police officers Sgt. Chris Gallo and Sgt. John Scheets, three detectives from the county Sheriff's Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the county Prosecutor's Office and the county Coroner's Office. Boardman Police were also contacted.
Panezott reported that Shasteen's employer, Devin Bennett of Clarencedale Cake in Boardman, called Salem Police at 9:47 a.m. because she didn't show up for work as scheduled at 6 a.m. and they became concerned. He had also called Boardman Police.
According to Talbert, Feisel worked as a chef at a Canfield restaurant.
Panezott said they'll continue interviewing people for the investigation, which they had been treating as a homicide even before the arrest was made. He asked that people respect the privacy of Shasteen's family right now, saying they're devastated.
"Our prayers go out to the family," he said.