After a week of DNA testing, interviews, and investigations, authorities said they arrested a man and a woman on Sunday believed to be responsible for the recent murder and disposal of a Hillsdale man’s body.
Police identified the suspects in Jeremy Barron’s death as Jay Scott Clark, 40, of Bryan, Ohio, and Ashley Diane Hoath, 27, of Hillsdale. A group of Amish boys riding their horses through the woods near the intersection of Dimmers Road and Gilmore Road in southern Hillsdale County discovered Barron’s body on April 2, and contacted the sheriff’s department.
“I want to make it real clear to the residents of our community,” Hillsdale County Sheriff Tim Parker said during a press conference Monday, “we firmly believe that these two individuals are fully responsible for the murder of Jeremy Barron, and that there is no additional threat to our community at this time.”
According to a press release, Clark is being held in prison and faces numerous charges including homicide-open murder, carrying away/disposing of corpse, felon in possession of a firearm, concealing the death of an individual, and possession of methamphetamine.
Hoath is being held as an accessory after the fact to homicide-open murder as well as lying to the police in a criminal investigation.
Hillsdale County court documents obtained by The Collegian show that Barron was killed by a .45 caliber revolver. According to records from Mitchell Research Center, the latest murder in Hillsdale County was in October 2009 when James McKinney shot and killed James Harper in Jefferson Township. McKinney was sentenced to life in prison.
Hillsdale County’s chief assistant prosecuting attorney Megan Stiverson said during a public press conference on Monday that she hopes Clark and Hoath will be found guilty.
“The police have been working non-stop on this,” Stiverson said. “I’m very confident in the evidence and in the investigations that have been done in this case that we will have a successful outcome.”
Hoath lives close to downtown Hillsdale. Her apartment, located off of Cherry Tree Lane, is less than two miles from Hillsdale College’s campus.
Neighbors in Hoath’s complex said they frequently saw Clark. Crystal Ewers has lived in the apartment complex for more than three years, and has lived right next door to Hoath for the last couple months. Ewers said she thought the two suspects were close.
“I thought they were a couple, maybe lived together or something,” Ewers said “He was around here all the time. She was a fine neighbor, but she was in and out quite a bit.”
According to court documents, she also worked at the Burger King in Hillsdale. Brian Palmer, Hoath’s manager at the Burger King, said she only worked there for the ten days prior to her arrest Sunday.
“She was on her shift here this past Sunday, and then the police came in and asked to speak with her,” Palmer said. “She went out for her break to go talk with them, and then she didn’t come back. It wasn’t until I read it in the paper the next day that I knew what was going on.”
Palmer said despite her being their for a little over a week, she was a decent employee minus occasional tardiness for her shifts.
Sheriff Parker said that there will be a probable cause hearing on April 19 and a preliminary examination hearing on April 26 for both Clark and Ashley Hoth. Parker said he was proud of his staff’s diligent efforts.
“I’m proud of my staff for taking a cold homicide and making arrests within a week,” Parker said in an interview with The Collegian. “But the staff is still working to finalize the investigation. This investigation has not stopped as a result of the arrest. We are still conducting interviews, processing evidence, and we are continuing the investigation.”