CADIZ - The two individuals suspected in the death of 45-year-old Joseph Strothers may have traveled all the way to the Sunshine State to evade capture.
Matthew Dowdle, 24, of Hopedale, and Eve Irene Kelley, 33, of Wintersville, were last thought to be driving a white 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer with front-end damage and a cracked windshield.
They were seen throughout the Ohio Valley loitering and asking for money at gas stations before disappearing.
Cadiz Police Chief Ryan McCann confirmed that the vehicle's license plate was read on a traffic camera in Daytona Beach, Fla. Florida authorities do not have the vehicle in custody and are still attempting to locate it.
McCann said Florida police are aware of the situation and are doing everything they can to help catch Dowdle and Kelley. McCann said it was not confirmed that the duo was in the vehicle at the time the license plate was read, but a news station in Florida reported that a man matching Dowdle's description was spotted in Daytona and Deland, a nearby town. Dowdle has distinctive tattoos to identify him, with two teardrops below his left eye and the words "cash" and "flow" across his knuckles. Kelley's appearance may be harder to confirm, as she is thought to be thinner than previously reported and may have dyed her hair blonde and shortened it.
McCann is confident Dowdle and Kelley will not escape arrest.
"Eventually they're going to get caught, it's just a matter of time," he said.
Strothers, a Cadiz man, was reported missing by his wife before being found dead around 5 p.m. last Friday in Sally Buffalo Park. The crime scene was processed by the Cadiz Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. It is said to have spanned 300 yards. Police have declined to release any details about the cause of Strothers' death.
McCann stated that more information will be released after the suspects are in custody. Harrison County Sheriff Joe Myers said marshals in Florida have been contacted in case extradition is necessary for the suspects.
A semi-lockdown at the West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling Campus led to some speculation that Dowdle and Kelley were in the Wheeling area last night. However, Dean of Community Relations Bob DeFrancis reported that school officials were just being cautious after receiving information that the suspects could be in the downtown area, and they were not seen by anyone on campus.
Dowdle and Kelley both have criminal backgrounds and have been described as dangerous. Anyone who sees them is advised not to approach them, but to call Cadiz Police at (740) 942-8844 or the Harrison County Sheriff's Department at (740) 942-2197 immediately.
Warner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.