Green Springs killer still on the loose

GREEN SPRINGS Violent crimes are rare in the Green Springs community. So rare, local
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



Violent crimes are rare in the Green Springs community.

So rare, local people can name the incidents.

Village councilman Don Sours escaped an armed robbery a few years back.

There was a stabbing more than a decade ago.

But nothing in recent memory compares the brutal murder of 80-year-old Frank Rios and beating of his wife, Bette "Sue" Rios, 69, on Nov. 2.

Many of the community's 1,400 residents say they are being cautious while authorities hunt for the person who invaded the Rios' small country farmhouse before dawn and beat the couple with a bat before fleeing with about $500 worth of items.

Terry Garcia of Green Springs said she was always careful to lock her doors at night, but now she wedges a chair beneath the doorknob before going to bed. She said she was so shaken by the incident at 11130 County Road 62, she is exploring other ways to keep her home safe.

"I've been thinking about getting a gun," she said as she ran errands in the village Tuesday morning.

Garcia said her 90-year-old mother, who lives with her, sleeps with brass knuckles.

"If they're going to get her, she's going to get them back," Garcia said.

Carol Craig, owner of The Style Center hair salon, said she is also being more careful.

"Everybody is really upset about it, especially since they haven't caught the guy yet," she said.

Craig said she used to leave her door unlocked after she let her dogs out at 4 a.m., but now she makes sure her doors are secured.

She said she doesn't think the incident has changed residents' lives a great deal, but it has made them more cautious.

"They'll feel better when the person is caught," she said. "Everybody feels bad the family has had to go through this."

Signs posted around town by Frank's daughter, Sandy Rios, remind residents of the family's grief.

"Reward! For the arrest of the man responsible for my father's murder and the beating of my stepmother," announce the signs, which display a picture of the spry 80-year-old and his wife. Donations toward the Frank Rios Reward Fund are being accepted at First Financial Bank, Clyde.

The Seneca County Sheriff's office is also offering a reward, but detectives did not return calls for information Tuesday. Last week Sgt. Kevin Reinbolt said the department is confident they will find the killer.

The Green Springs Village police chief is on vacation and could not be reached.

Jim Kleinhas, owner of Papa Jimmie's Barbecue and Pizza, said he has noticed an increased police presence in town.

Kleinhas said his restaurant is a gathering place where locals come to talk.

"I think they may be worried a little bit," Kleinhas said. "They feel this is coming from the bigger towns."

He said people have talked about the poor economy playing a role in the crime, but Kleinhans said he doubts that was the motivation.

"Most people like that make their own economy," he said. "I don't think your random factory worker goes out and does something like that."

Green Springs Mayor Theodore Rutherford said residents have expressed sorrow for the family to him more than concern for their own safety.

"People are angry about it, but I haven't heard a whole lot," Rutherford said. "People come into the office, and they're upset about what they did to that poor guy and his family."

Sarah Humbert, a clerk at Community Market, said she feels more secure in the village than she would in the rural outskirts of the township.

"That's pretty sad when that security isn't there anymore," Humbert said. "With us here in town, we have our own police department. Everybody kind of watches out for everybody."

Anyone with information related to the incident should contact the Seneca County Sheriff's office at 419-447-3456.

Related article: Nov. 6, 2008 - Fatal beating haunts Green Springs family