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In little over a year, at least six women have disappeared from the town of only 21,000. Four of their bodies have been found, almost all of them dumped in creeks or streams flowing away from the town.
The women have similar stories. Most of them were hooked on drugs, and many moonlighted as prostitutes to fund their addictions, police say. Some of them even knew one another.
The similarities between the victims and the crime scenes have Chillicothe terrified that a serial killer is on the loose. Local police, several county sheriffs’ offices and state investigators have banded together to solve the spiraling murder mystery.
Even FBI analysts are assisting with the investigation, busy compiling a profile of a possible serial killer.
A couple out for a Saturday evening walk through a nature preserve south of Chillicothe spotted something white at the edge of a drainage pipe running underneath the road. Sayre’s naked body had been wrapped in a bed sheet and hidden inside the culvert with a crown of duct tape around her strawberry blond hair.
“She’s wrapped up in a blanket and you can see her breasts, her stomach, duct tape, a white blanket,” the female passerby told a 911 dispatcher.
“We were hoping that she was still alive,” Jessica Sayre said. “You’re wishing and hoping and then all of a sudden you get a phone call saying that your loved one has been found, but not the way you wanted to find her.”
Sayre’s family put out missing-person fliers and held candlelight vigils but heard nothing. While they were waiting, another woman, Timberly Clayton, was found dead: shot in the head three times and left in a ditch near another creek. (Authorities named Jason A. McCrary, a 36-year-old convicted sex offender, as the prime suspect in the killing but have not yet charged him with the crime.)