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An Ohio teenager is accused of killing his 20-year-old friend, whose body was found in an empty home by a search and rescue team last weekend.
Blake A. Grewell, 19, has been formally charged with aggravated murder in the death of Brianna Ratliff, who vanished last week, the Coshocton County Sheriff's Department announced on Tuesday. Her remains were found by a search party in a home on the 1800 block of Chestnut Street in the city of Coshocton, Ohio on April 18. A cadaver dog assisted in recovering the 20-year-old’s body.
She was stabbed to death, according to a preliminary autopsy and her death has been ruled a homicide.
"Her death was traumatic," Coshocton County Coroner Douglas Virostko told Oxygen.com on Friday.
It’s currently unclear when or where Ratliff may have died.
Ratliff was last seen on April 15 around 7 p.m. near a park in the small Ohio city. Before disappearing, Ratliff said she was going to a local gas station, according to the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office.
Grewell is a “former friend” of Ratliff, law enforcement stated.
No motive in the alleged slaying was released. Officials, however, said further charges could be pending.
“More charges are anticipated upon further review of the case by the Coshocton County Prosecutor’s office,” Coshocton County Sheriff James A. Crawford said in a statement.
The state Bureau of Criminal Investigations also assisted county investigators in the missing woman’s case.
The investigation is ongoing. No additional information was available this week. Coshocton County Sheriff’s Department didn’t immediately respond to questions when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday.
A candlelight vigil was held for Ratliff on April 20. The vigil was organized by Golden Hearts A Voice 4 The Voiceless, an organization that assists law enforcement on missing persons investigations. A member of the group aided in the discovery of Ratliff’s remains, according to the Coshocton Tribune.
A GoFundMe page was also set up for Ratliff’s family this week to help her stepmother and stepfather pay for the young woman’s funeral expenses.
“She was a beautiful, happy, talented, funny, loving, and just downright amazing human being,” Dani Kibler-Babcock, the page’s organizer, wrote on Ratliff’s fundraising page. “She did not deserve this!”
More than 200 donors had given $14,000 to the campaign as of Friday morning.
“Please also pray that justice be brought quickly to Brianna's murderer,” Kibler-Babcock added.
Grewell was booked into a Coshocton County detention center on April 19, shortly before midnight, online jail records show.
The 19-year-old doesn’t appear to have a past criminal history, according to a county court records search. It’s unclear if he has retained legal representation.
Coshocton, a largely rural county of approximately 36,000 people, is located about 75 miles northeast of Columbus, Ohio.
Anyone with information related to the case is encouraged to contact the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 740-623-8477.
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