Cold case solved 60 years after Ohio woman’s dismembered remains found by fishermen

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In June of 1964, a fisherman made a grisly discovery at a gravel pit in western Ohio — a severed human arm. Four days later, another fisherman found a burlap bag in a nearby canal which contained a torso. Eventually, a human head and a leg were discovered in the same waterway.

The remains were identified as those of 43-year old Daisy Shelton of Dayton — and now, 40 years later, authorities have officially declared the cold case solved. The Miami County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that prosecutors have approved closing the case after a key witness came forward to identify a suspect who died about 18 months ago.

Finding the alleged killer — who authorities did not name — took several decades. After Shelton’s remains were identified in 1964, the case went cold until 2017.  That’s when a witness — who was also not named by officials — came forward to claim he saw someone kill Shelton with a hammer in a home in Dayton and then dismembered her body, the sheriff’s office said. The body parts were then discarded in bodies of water in and around the Dayton suburb of Tipp City, the witness told detectives.

“It was a very grisly murder, even by today’s standards,” Chief Deputy Steve Lord, of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, told CBS affiliate WHIO-TV.

The person named as the suspect was interviewed multiple times by deputies in 2017. After initially denying even knowing Shelton, officials said he eventually acknowledged that a box from his house “was used to carry the body parts of Shelton” and “it was possible that Shelton was killed in his home.”

He claimed that he was being set up by the eyewitness of the crime but admitted he “looked guilty and could possibly be convicted in court,” the sheriff’s office said.

The witness to the murder gave testimony to a grand Jury, but died prior to the case being prosecuted. Officials did not say if they think the witness played any role in Shelton’s death.

The suspect died in September of 2022 at the age of 92.

Shelton’s granddaughter, Maria Walling, told WHIO-TV that she recently got a phone call from the sheriff’s office informing her that officials were finally ready to close the case.

“It’s very, very shocking that a human being can do that to another human being,” Walling said.

Sheriff Lord said that “cold case homicides are among the most difficult investigators confront” and his department was assisted by the Dayton Police Cold Case Squad.

“Revisiting cases is a crucial aspect of bringing a sense of justice to the victim’s family, even if it comes long after the crime occurred,” Lord said.

But Walling told WHIO-TV that she did not feel like justice had been served.

“To be honest, no,” she told the station. “No one has that right. No one has the authority to take someone’s life.”

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