Vacationers played role in locating murder suspects

CADIZ – Ohio vacationers apparently played a role in catching the two individuals suspected in the murder of Joseph M. Strother, a 45-year-old Cadiz man.

Strother was found dead at Sally Buffalo Park on March 28, and Matthew Dowdel, 24, of Hopedale and Eve Kelley, 33, formerly of Wintersville, were on the run until police nabbed them Saturday in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.

According to a news source Daytona Beach Shores, several vacationers called 911 to tip off area police to Dowdel and Kelley’s location. One woman reported they were begging for money in parking lots, just as they had been doing throughout the Ohio Valley before their disappearance. The suspects admitted they were from Ohio and claimed they needed money for gas because they could not contact a family member.

“We had received more information about a couple of addresses they might be at. Detective Bill Jones (of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department) made contact with the U.S. Marshal Service and the Daytona Beach Shores Police Department and they put out a new ‘bolo’,” said Cadiz Police Chief Ryan McCann. “Several minutes later, an officer doing traffic detail radioed it in. The person attempted to make a traffic stop at a Walgreen’s. When the officer went to have them step out of the vehicle, Kelley ran and the officer chased her down.”

Dowdel also was apprehended on foot, and McCann said he believes Tasers were used to stop both fugitives.

Part of the news outlet’s broadcast includes a video from a police cruiser’s dashboard camera. In the video, Dowdel and Kelley can be seen sprinting away from police and a bystander who tried to help officials catch them. U.S. Marshals will be bringing the fugitives back to Ohio after they go through an extradition hearing in Florida. At the hearing, they could waive or fight extradition. If they choose to fight, police will have to obtain a governor’s warrant.

Upon their return to Harrison County, Dowdel will face a murder charge, while Kelley will face a charge of complicity to commit murder. Harrison County Prosecutor Michael Washington said Kelley’s charge of complicity is not necessarily lesser.

“It’s the same level of offense,” he stated.

Washington also said information still is being sought out by law enforcement, and a full coroner’s report regarding Strother’s cause of death has not yet been received.

Jones and Cadiz police officer Sgt. Chris Mazeroski are traveling to Florida to interview both suspects. It is not yet clear when Kelley and Dowdel will face their extradition hearing or when they will be back in Harrison County.