THOMAS J. SHEERAN
CLEVELAND — The FBI is investigating whether a body found Friday in a shallow grave in Ohio is a second killing connected to a phony Craigslist job ad that authorities say lured victims into a deadly robbery scheme.
The body was found Friday near a shopping mall in Akron, agency spokeswoman Vicki Anderson told The Associated Press.
The cause of death and identity are under investigation. The FBI is working on the supposition that the body may be that of Timothy Kern, 47, who hasn’t been seen in more than a week.
He answered the same online ad for a farm hand that authorities say led to the shooting death of Virginia man David Pauley, 51, in a rural area. A South Carolina man reported answering the ad but managing to escape after being shot Nov. 6.
Two people are in custody: a high school student who has been charged with attempted murder and 52-year-old Richard Beasley, who is in jail on unrelated charges.
Another man who responded to the ad has said he met Beasley at a food court at a different mall on Oct. 10. Ron Sanson was told the man was looking for an older, single or divorced person to watch over a farm — the kind of man, Sanson said, whose disappearance might not be quickly noticed.
Sanson and Kern are both divorced. So was Pauley.
Law enforcement officials have released few details because of a judge’s gag order. The sheriff in Noble County, where Pauley and the South Carolina man were shot, previously said it was unclear how long the ad was online or whether there were other victims.