CINCINNATI — Authorities turned their focus Thursday to determining how a 21-year-old southwest Ohio woman died, following the discovery of her skeletal remains in Indiana 20 months after she went missing.
"It's basically like a brand new investigation," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze.
Indiana police investigators took "numerous items" from the site where Katelyn Markham's remains were found for study and possible testing, Houze said. He said the creek area where the remains were found is used by some as a dumping ground, so it's too soon to say whether any of the items are significant to the investigation.
"They collected a lot of stuff," he said, declining to describe the items but adding that they could turn out to be trash.
Indiana police and Fairfield, Ohio, police have a joint investigation in the case and suspect foul play. Markham was reported missing Aug. 14, 2011, from her home in suburban Cincinnati just days before her 22nd birthday. Her remains were found Sunday, some 25 miles west of her Fairfield home, and identified Wednesday with the aid of dental records.
Markham's father, David Markham, addressed a crowd of supporters Thursday evening at Fairfield West Baptist Church.
"Although we are glad to have Katelyn home, we always had the hope to be able to see her again," he said, according to the Hamilton JournalNews.
"We have had hope that she was going to come home all along, and we believed very strongly in that," said Karyn Winkler, the mother of Markham's fiance, according to the newspaper. "Now we know — and we have the relief of knowing — she's been with God this whole time. But that's the only relief we have."
Houze said investigators were still working to determine how and where Markham died.