Fairfield welfare check turns into murder case

Man found dead in Fairfield residence

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - A welfare check has turned deadly in Fairfield, and now a woman faces a murder charge.

Officers said they found the body of David Mitchell, 41, at the couple's Eastgate Drive residence at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

His cause of death remains under investigation by the Fairfield Police Department and the Butler County Coroner's Office.

Mitchell's girlfriend, Stephanie Gabbard, 33, was arrested and booked into the Butler County Jail on one count of murder, police announced in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

She is held on $1 million bond and is scheduled to appear in Fairfield Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the jail.

Gabbard also is held on unrelated charges of theft and failure to appear, jail officials said.

She is set to appear on those charges at 8 a.m . Thursday in Hamilton Municipal Court.

Fairfield police say she was in a relationship with Mitchell.

They surrounded the apartment building for more than six hours Wednesday as they investigated,  neighbors said.

"When I pulled up yesterday at 6:30, they had the whole apartment taped off. It was a bunch of cops coming in and out," Marc Smith said. "It was kind of a shock. The way it was taped off it seemed like more than just a person dying. It seemed like something went array."

Kelli Hammons is a long time friend of David Mitchell.

Gabbard, she said, had a bad temper.

"She wasn't abused. He was always abused," Hammons said.

But the man who called 911 that brought police to the couple's apartment claimed she was being abused and wrote "dark messages" on Facebook

"She's a hysterical mess," he told the dispatcher.

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