November 18, 2011 / 11:11 PM / 8 years ago

Ohio teen charged in shooting linked to Craigslist ad

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A teenager was charged with attempted murder on Friday in a shooting that wounded a South Carolina man authorities said was drawn to Ohio by a Craigslist job ad that may have lured another man to his death.

The 16-year-old boy was also charged with complicity to attempted murder over the shooting of the man, who responded to an ad for a job to care for cattle on a 688-acre property in southern Ohio, authorities said.

An adult man was also being held in connection with the shooting and over a body found in a shallow grave near the scene of the violence, Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said on Thursday.

“The investigation is moving swiftly but also deliberately,” Hannum and Prosecutor Clifford Sickler said in a joint statement on Friday.

The shooting was the latest in a string of crimes where accused attackers were alleged to be linked to victims through postings on Craigslist, which did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

In 2009, a former medical student was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist, and police have been hunting for at least one serial killer in the New York area thought to prey on prostitutes who advertised on the site.

In the Ohio case, the sheriff said the shooting of the South Carolina man and the “likely murder” of the man found in the shallow grave were believed connected and possibly committed by the same person.

Investigators found a second hole near the grave that they said may have been intended as a burial site for the South Carolina man, who was shot in the arm but survived, he said.

The South Carolina man told investigators he met the two suspects for breakfast in Marietta, Ohio, and followed them in his own car, transferring to their vehicle in Caldwell, Ohio.

They drove toward a heavily wooded area and stopped after the pair told him a landslide had closed the road. All three got out of the vehicle and they began to walk through the woods, the man told investigators.

He said he heard a cocking sound, turned and saw a gun pointed at his head and deflected it. He said he was shot in the right arm as he fled and hid for seven hours in the woods before walking two miles to a house for help.

Authorities later combed the site of the shooting after being contacted by a woman from out of state who told them her twin brother had gone missing after he also responded to a Craigslist ad for work in Ohio.

The investigation has included local police and sheriff’s departments, Ohio state police, the FBI and other federal investigators. The matter is still under investigation and other arrests were possible, the sheriff’s department said.

An autopsy was planned by the Licking County coroner on Friday on the body found in the shallow grave, and authorities said a county judge has placed a gag order on further statements in the matter.

Editing by David Bailey and Cynthia Johnston

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