Blunt-force trauma to Charlotte Evans’ head killed her. The fire did not.
According to a preliminary autopsy conducted by the Lucas County Coroner’s office, Evans suffered multiple skull fractures and two cerebral contusions the day she died.
Erie County coroner Brian Baxter said it’s safe to assume Evans, 32, died before being set afire. The autopsy also determined her killer used a gasoline-oil mix as an accelerant.
Evans’ body was found engulfed in flames last week by two fishermen at Resthaven Wildlife Area.
Dental records from the autopsy confirmed Evans was in fact the victim.
“We were sure it was her based on the evidence we had from the scene and the conversations we had with relatives and people who called in,” Erie County Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Sigsworth said. “Dental records just confirmed it.”
Evans’ suspected killer, Timothy Tyree, was arrested in Letcher County, Ky., two days after the homicide.
Tyree stole Evans’ 1996 dark green Plymouth Voyager — a van in which he and Evans lived — and fled to Letcher County where he has “somewhat distant” relatives, according to police.
Authorities in Kentucky arrested Tyree on May 6 in the van, which was parked alongside a county road.
On Wednesday morning, Tyree had a preliminary hearing, at which he declined extradition. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has charged him with possession of stolen property (Evans’ van), and a grand jury has 60 days to indict him.
If Ohio waits for Letcher County to prosecute Tyree, it could take months—possibly longer—before Erie County gets their hands on him, said Tiffany Bowling, clerk of the Letcher County Court District.
But Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he will pursue a governor’s warrant to ensure Tyree’s quick return to Ohio.
A Governor’s Warrant involves Gov. Ted Strickland asking Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to send Tyree back to Erie County before Kentucky prosecutes him.
The process could take 30 to 90 days, Kevin Baxter said Wednesday, and it’s mostly a formality.
“It’s usually pretty much a matter of course,” Kevin Baxter added.
Bowling said she was surprised Tyree declined to waive extradition.
“We were sure he was going to waive extradition,” she said. “We thought he’d just go back to Ohio and get it over with. That wasn’t the case.”
The preliminary autopsy report didn’t determine what instrument the killer used to murder Evans, coroner Brian Baxter said.
Brian Baxter said that will probably be determined when the final report is released in three weeks.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the homicide will continue, Sigsworth said. The Erie County Sheriff’s office received the stolen van Friday, and agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation processed the van and collected evidence Tuesday.
Sigsworth also said Det. Jared Oliver and Det. Nick Kotsopoulos, the detectives spearheading the case, continue to conduct interviews as part of the investigation.