Ohio Man Charged With 2 Killings, Kidnapping

September 16, 2016

ASHLAND, Ohio — A man arrested at a house where two bodies were found was charged Sept. 15 with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping.

Christopher Grate is charged with killing Stacey Stanley and a second unidentified woman whose body was found in the home.

Ashland County Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell has said officials are working to identify a third body found in a house in neighboring Richland County.

Additional charges could be filed, Tunnell said. It’s unclear whether Grate, 40, has an attorney or when his first court appearance will be held.

Grate was arrested Sept. 13 after a woman called 911 and said she had been tied up but had partly freed herself in a bedroom while her captor slept in the same room. “I’ve been abducted,” the woman said in the 911 call. “Please hurry.”

The woman said the man had a stun gun, and she was afraid of waking him. She had known him for about a month and a half, she told the dispatcher.

The kidnapping charge includes a specification that Grate had allegedly abducted her “to engage in sexual activity.”

Ashland police said officers found the kidnap victim and Grate at a home that was supposed to be unoccupied. Investigators also found the remains of two bodies there, Chief David Marcelli said.

Police confirmed that one of the bodies was that of the 43-year-old Stanley, who lived in Greenwich and was reported missing from Huron County. Stanley’s son said she had been missing since Sept. 8 after telling him she had gotten a flat tire.

Bruce Wilkinson, pastor and director of Pump House Ministries, which owns the home where the two bodies were found and one next to it, said the properties had been vacant since March and were being renovated. He said they were padlocked and checked weekly.

The coroner hasn’t determined how Stanley died or identified the second body, Ashland police said.

Grate led investigators to a third person’s remains at a property near Mansfield in neighboring Richland County, police said.

He confessed to killing a woman in June at a house destroyed by fire that month, Richland County Prosecutor Bambi Couch Page told the Mansfield News Journal.

Authorities checked the Mansfield-area site Sept. 13 and found decomposed remains in a ravine behind the house. The remains haven’t been identified.

Record show Grate, who is homeless, has a long criminal record and served time in prison on a burglary charge beginning in 1997.


By ANN SANNER. AP writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Kantele Franko in Columbus and AP researcher Monika Mathur in New York contributed


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