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Williams murder added to state’s cold cases

January 20, 2013
Morning Journal News

LISBON - One unsolved local murder is among those listed on the state attorney general's "cold case" website, with two more to be added in the coming months.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a news release after Christmas announcing their unsolved homicide database had grown to include 1,062 cases from around the state.

"We are very happy that so many local law enforcement agencies have submitted their unsolved homicide cases. We have already received tips on some of the cases, and we hope these tips will lead to arrests," said DeWine, in a news release issued by his office.

The only Columbiana County homicide listed on the website is the Mike Williams murder, although there are numerous other unsolved homicides/questionable deaths in the county. Williams, 37, was found beaten to death in the driver's seat of his car not far from his Elkrun Township home on Aug. 30, 2005.

Attorney general public information officer Jill Del Greco said the website was actually started under former attorney general Richard Cordray, and the listings came exclusively from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), which is the investigative branch of the attorney general's office.

She said DeWine decided to expand the website, and last September had asked law enforcement agencies from around the state to begin submitting their cold cases if they wanted. There were 166 cases listed at the time, but the website expanded significantly after that.

County Sheriff Ray Stone said it is his understanding a BCI agent assisting them on the Williams investigation submitted the case for the state website, and his detectives are currently working on adding the Gerald Klusch and Richard Altomare cases to the list.

Altomare, 59, was found shot to death in September 1999 in the basement of the former Crestview Elementary School building, which he owned. Klusch, 71, of Lisbon, went missing on Sept. 29, 2011, and his body was found seven weeks later near Salineville with two gunshot wounds to the head.

Stone said they have yet to receive any tips on the Williams murder as a result of the website listing.

Fifty-four law enforcement agencies submitted cold cases, with the larger cities and counties responsible for most of the submissions, such as: Cincinnati Police Department, 423 cases; Dayton 376; Akron, 72; and Franklin County Sheriff's Office, 61.

The Cleveland Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff's Office are in the process of submitting cold cases, which is expected to push the website listings past 2,000.

"We've gotten 26 tips since September and the information has been sent back to the local agencies handling the case," Del Greco said.



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