The Ashtabula County Coroner says bones found on the property of a home Thursday appear to be human, according to officials.
In a news conference Friday, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested a suspect, 40-year-old James Brooks, who is believed to have connections to two missing women near the area, an 18-year-old woman and a woman in her 50s. They say the man they arrested was strictly over drugs and not the remains, but an investigation is underway.
The judge set a $700,000 bond in part of a prior, escape conviction. He faces charges of drug trafficking and abuse of corpse.
Deputies say Brooks had many friends, mostly young women. Two women in their early 20s spent the night there the night before the raid on Thursday, according to officials.
The Sheriff’s Office was serving a search warrant at a home on U.S. Route 6 Thursday when the bones were discovered. Officials confirm they were searching the home for drugs. During the search, the bones were found in a backyard fire pit and in the woods behind the home. An anthropologist with Mercyhurst University viewed the bones through email and concluded they were human remains. The bones will be sent to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for DNA testing.
“We didn’t see anyone from April to maybe a month ago, we didn’t see nobody,” said neighbor Veronica Cox.
Neighbors say whoever lives there, just moved in a couple months ago.
Police say they’ve been monitoring drug activity at this home for a while and got the search warrant to move in on a bust. They were not looking for bones when they checked the property, but said they were looking for possible means of destroying evidences of drugs.
“We arrested one male,” said Ashtabula County Sheriff Billy Johnson. He’s currently in our County Jail.
“It’s sad,” said Cox. “We walk here every day and we say hello to every person that we see and we look at that house all the time.”
After finding the bones, police served a search warrant for the rest of the property and spent the entire day searching for more evidence.
WKYC called around and found out nearby cities of Ashtabula, Warren, and Warren Township all have an open case for a missing woman. Warren P.D. was on scene Thursday.
“Warren P.D. is investigating missing girls and they were working on something with this individual, it was totally separate from what we were doing in regards to the drug activity investigation,” said Johnson.
Neighbors say they often see nice cars and hear loud music at this home. They say on Wednesday, they saw the previous owner there as well.
“We saw a different vehicle and different people and thought they bought the house. Then we saw the gentleman who was the owner the first time, so we don’t know what to think. It might be something.”
“This is unusual when we are working a drug case and then we find out that we have might have a missing person who is murdered,” said Johnson.