Private eye: Similarities in West Chester, Markham slayings

Private eye acknowledges similarities in West Chester, Fairfield cases

WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - An arrest connected to the murder of a West Chester woman is sparking new conversation about a separate homicide in Fairfield.

There has been much speculation about a possible link between the murder of Ellen "Ellie" Weik and the death of Katelyn Markham. Authorities are not confirming any possible connection between the two cases, but a private investigator who worked Markham's case believes it is worth investigating.

Weik, 23, disappeared in late July. Police said her body was found Friday in a field off of Millikin Road and Maud Hughes in Liberty Township.

RELATED: Police: Missing West Chester woman killed by asphyxiation

A 29-year-old man with a criminal history, Michael Strouse, is locked up on murder charges. He is accused of taking Weik's life about a month ago at his home. Police said he admitted to death by asphyxiation.

Markham's case opened in 2011 in Fairfield when the nearly 23-year-old vanished. In 2013, her remains were discovered in Cedar Grove, Ind. Her death was ultimately ruled a homicide. A suspect has never been named.

RELATED: Butler Co Sheriff: 2 persons of interest discovered in unsolved disappearances

Strouse's arrest is now raising all sorts of speculation and talk of a possible link between the two women. A photo surfaced on Facebook, reportedly showing Markham's then-fiancé John Carter, with Weik's accused murderer, Strouse. Carter confirmed via phone Monday night that the photo is a real picture of him and Strouse that was taken at a party after Markham's disappearance.

Carter said that Strouse has never been more than an acquaintance to him or, to his knowledge, to Markham. According to Carter, some of his friends are friends with Strouse, but that is the extent of the relationship. He said if Strouse had anything to do with Markham's death, he does not know anything about it.

When asked if Strouse was present the last night Markham was seen alive, Carter said he does not think so, but said there was a festival going on, so he cannot be sure. It's the same festival Carter mentioned in his initial 911 call when Markham was missing in 2011.
"The Sacred Heart Festival is going on right up the street, and there's just a lot of questionable people there," said Carter during the 911 call.
Private Investigator J. Ryan Green has been looking into Markham's case for years. When it comes to this potential development, he said:

"Michael Strouse is the best lead the Markham case has had since Katelyn went missing. Personality traits are there, proximity is there, and (he is) under the radar not fully involved in the inner circle where none of Katelyn’s or John’s friends even thought of him. He hovered on the outside of the inner circle."

Authorities from all sides are staying tight-lipped. Fairfield Police, the Butler County Sheriff's Office, and Indiana State Police are investigating Markham's case, while West Chester Police handle Weik's case.
Fairfield Police did confirm that detectives visited West Chester Police and spoke with Indiana State Police on Monday, however, Fairfield Police did not say why they spoke or what the conversation was about. 
At this time, police are not confirming any possible connection between Weik's case and Markham's case. Indiana State Police said they are aware of similarities between the two, but are not investigating it further as Ohio officials are the primary investigators.
There is a $100,000 reward for information on Markham's death.
Weik's accused killer, Strouse, will appear in court again later this week.

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