Reward offered in Bellaire murder case

WEST BELLAIRE – A reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons, responsible for the brutal murder of 92-year-old Lydia Ashworth late last month.

The reward was announced at a Wednesday night meeting of the Forest Hills Community Association of West Bellaire.

The association placed $5,000 in the fund and anyone wishing to donate to the reward fund may do so at the Belmont Savings Bank, 3301 Guernsey St., Bellaire, Ohio, 43906, which is the depository for the fund. The contact person there is Rosann Lofton.

Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk and Senior Patrol Officer J.J. Watson were in attendance at the meeting and stressed to association members the Bellaire Police Department’s total commitment in solving this heinous crime.

Kovalyk added, “We welcome any information anyone may want to give our department, and that the good people of Bellaire will come together as they have in the past to help in keeping our community safe.”

The Bellaire Police Department can be contacted at (740) 676-3322.

Ashworth was discovered shortly after noon on June 30 by a family member who came to the 124 Fourth Avenue home after not being able to contact the victim.

Authorities have said that the perpertrator, or perpertrators, entered the rear of the home with robbery as the motive. Ashworth was allegedly killed during the robbery.

No further details of the murder have been released, but two units from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation were at the crime scene for a lengthy amount of time after the body was found.

Kovalyk said Ashworth’s body was removed and transported to the medical examiner’s office in Newark, Licking County.

As of Thursday, there are no suspects in custody, and Kovalyk has gone on record as saying his department is following up some leads.

Rumors have spread like wildfire in the small, quiet community. Neighbors have been living in fear and have even armed themselves in some instances.

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