The family of Isabel Cordle will have to wait for another day to see anyone charged with her gruesome murder 26 years ago.
Cordle, 49, was killed by the first blow of an axe by an unknown assailant on Jan. 24, 1988.
“I don’t believe they’re going to do anything,” said Dawn Bush, one of Cordle’s daughters, referring to Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt.
A mother of six, Cordle was asleep on the couch in the family home outside Bellevue when she was killed. Her husband and son were asleep in bedrooms and discovered her lifeless body when they awoke the next morning.
The killer struck her three more times with the axe after killing her with the initial blow. He then quietly left the home, propping the axe up against a tree as he left the property.
The case went cold in 1988, with detectives looking at five “persons of interests” then, but never presenting evidence to a grand jury.
Richard Cordle Sr. and Richard Cordle Jr. were among the people sheriff’s deputies looked at as suspects in 1988, and their potential involvement was reviewed again last year when the investigation was reopened after Sandusky County sheriff Kyle Overmyer asked the TNT network television program “Cold Justice” to help solve the case.
Family members said both men were cleared in the latest investigation, and they were assured evidence would be presented to a grand jury concerning another suspect.
The national exposure developed new leads, said sheriff’s detective Sean O’Connell, but the new evidence hasn’t been presented to a grand jury.
“I completed the investigation and have since forwarded a copy of such to the prosecutor in hopes to present the case in front of a grand jury,” O’Connell told the Register previously.
But Stierwalt has not presented a grand jury case, and he refuses to respond to questions from Cordle’s family, or the Register, about his intentions.
“He will not return our phone calls,” Richard Cordle Jr. said Monday. “The least he could do is call and say where he’s at with the new evidence. A 26-year-old murder case should get some priority.”
It’s been months since O’Connell told family members Stierwalt likely would take the new evidence to a grand jury, but the prosecutor has failed to take any known actions. He did not respond to an inquiry from the Register on Monday, or past inquiries from the newspaper.
O’Connell also has refused to release a copy of his final report of the renewed investigation or any details about the new evidence developed, saying Stierwalt needs to decide whether or not he is going to present it to a grand jury before it can be released.
Richard Cordle Jr. said the family is considering a civil lawsuit in the event Stierwalt continues to stonewall them.
“He won’t return our calls,” Richard Cordle Jr. said. “I don’t know what else we can do.”
Dawn Bush said she left another message for Stierwalt Monday afternoon.