Grand Jury indicts man in the 2012 death of 87-year-old Monroe w - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Grand Jury indicts man in the 2012 death of 87-year-old Monroe woman

A Butler County Grand Jury indicted a Berea, Ky man in the 2012 death of Barbara Howe (FOX19 NOW file photo) A Butler County Grand Jury indicted a Berea, Ky man in the 2012 death of Barbara Howe (FOX19 NOW file photo)
Daniel French (Photo provided) Daniel French (Photo provided)

A Butler County Grand Jury indicted a Berea, Ky man in the 2012 death of Barbara Howe.

Daniel French, 56, was arrested Wednesday by Kentucky State Police at a home in northwestern Rockcastle County at around 1:56 p.m.  

He is charged with aggravated murder with death penalty specifications, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of Howe on or about Oct. 28, 2012 in Monroe, Ohio.

"She was just a very wonderful person and didn't deserve this. This case is not logical, it makes no sense," said Donna Wesselman, Howe's daughter.

Police say Howe was abducted in Monroe while leaving the Mount Pleasant Retirement Village, where French previously worked. Howe was found dead inside the trunk of her car on Nov. 1, 2012 shortly after she had been reported missing. Her 2005 red Cadillac STS was found at the Woodridge Park East Apartments in Middletown.

[Related: Police investigating woman found in trunk as a homicide]

"He really stayed in a lot. We really saw more of the wife and the son than we did him. He was just in and out, hi and bye and that's pretty much

it. I don't know I can't picture him doing something like that," said Trish Mcquinn, French's former neighbor.

Trish Mcquinn is French's former neighbor and she says the 56-year old was a difficult man to figure out.

"We're all piecing it together, she moved out for some reason, maybe she knew. I don't know I would probably be in jail if I knew something like that would happen to my kids so it's really a toss-up today knowing that's right next door," said Mcquinn.

The Mount Pleasant Retirement Village issued a statement about French's arrest Thursday, saying he passed a thorough background check. 

"Danny French met all of our requirements and passed the background check and screening, he began his employment at Mount Pleasant on September 15, 2003. He was a good employee in good standing and resigned his position on December 14, 2011," said Mount Pleasant Retirement Village Executive Director Stan Kappers. "I am personally sickened by the thought that anyone previously associated with this community could have been involved in this tragic crime."

"He destroyed my mother and he's affected my family for the rest of our lives," said Wesselman.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser wouldn't comment on the cause of death and the connection between Howe and French, but Wesselman says it was gruesome.

Wesselman says she paced around her office all day when she learned the grand jury decided to indict French, and adds, she was very close to her mom.

"I got closer the older I got. I felt that I had probably ten more good solid years with her if not more than that," said Wesselman.

According to a release, French is being held by police in Berea, Ky and is expected to be extradited to Ohio where he could be held without bond pending his trial. Wesselman says receiving this news before the holidays is somewhat of a gift.

"Having this person behind bars is closure for me. I'll never have full closure only because this makes no sense but this part is what we've been waiting for"

Monroe and Middletown police detectives, criminalists of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation under the authority of the Ohio Attorney General, the Butler County Coroner, the Butler County Prosecutor's Office and the service of the Butler County Grand Jury all received evidence and testimony over a three month period which culminated in the indictment. 

The Rockcastle Detention Center says French will appear for his extradition hearing on Dec. 15 in Rockcastle County District Court between 9 and 11 a.m.

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