MOUNT VERNON — It has been years since the case was solved, but a portion of the remains of Jonathan Sheasby was only recently returned to his family. In March, the portion was released by the Bureau of Crimal Investigation to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheasby’s murder was handled by the KCSO in 2005.
“The [original] remains were taken to the BCI crime lab in London by the BCI investigator who investigated the crime scene,” said Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher. “After the case was over, neither the sheriff’s office or BCI made each other aware that the [current] remains were still there, and without any notice ahead of time, BCI turned the [current] remains over to the detective from the sheriff’s office who was at London for the purpose of dropping off evidence for another case.”
Thatcher said the portion of the remains recently returned is a small portion of the femur that was being kept for DNA identification.
The current remains were brought back to Knox County and kept in the morgue of Knox Community Hospital. In order to handle the human remain appropriately and respectfully, Thatcher said, a local funeral home transported the femur to the funeral home in Westerville that took care the arrangements for the original memorial service.
In April, Thatcher sent an apology letter to the Sheasby family.
“The letter I sent to her was apologizing for the situation; not anything the prosecutor’s office did, just for the situation,” said Thatcher.
“I had a meeting with the detectives from the sheriff’s office and the city police department and we discussed a follow-up to make sure that in the future if there are any remains that they follow up with me so that I can file a motion in court to get the remains released from evidence when the cases are over with,” said Thatcher. “Under the circumstances, I think the sheriff’s office and I did everything we could to handle the situation as appropriately as we could.”
Prior to investigating the case as a homicide, Sheasby was initially reported missing to the Mount Vernon Police Department. Because Sheasby’s body was found in a field outside of Mount Vernon, the case was taken over by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
“I agree it was an unfortunate set of circumstances, and I can understand the family’s concern,” said Knox County Coroner Jennifer Ogle, whose office was a liaison between law enforcement and the family. “It is important to keep evidence in a case until you are absolutely positive it will not be needed.
“I can assure the family and the public that BCI, the sheriff’s office and everyone were all trying to be kind to the family, knowing how difficult this was for them.”
Sheasby’s body was discovered in 2005 by Morgan Township resident Jeff George. An autopsy determined that Sheasby died of multiple gunshot wounds. In September 2005, Wesley Park Jr. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Phone calls to the sheriff’s office were not returned. Attempts to reach the Sheasby family were unsuccessful.