Man pleads guilty in death, disappearance of Brown County man

Zachary Scott pleaded guilty in Clermont County Commons Pleas Court on Wednesday.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:46 PM EDT
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BATAVIA, Ohio (WXIX) - A Tri-State man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges connected to a suspected overdose death and disappearance of a man from Brown County.

Scott, 31, was sentenced to five years for abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence on Wednesday in Clermont County Common Pleas Court. His family, including two daughters, are hoping they can still find him or his remains.

Zachary Scott and the family of Roger “Shane” Bruce agreed on Tuesday to a plea deal with prosecutors that dropped involuntary manslaughter and drug charges according to Bruce’s aunt, Melissa Gray.

According to court records, Scott called 911 to report Bruce was unresponsive in a car at Laurel Point Isabel Road in Washington Township. Prosecutors said Scott hung up the phone. When dispatchers called him back, Scott said Bruce was responsive after being treated with Narcan. Clermont County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene a few minutes later, but the two men weren’t at the location.

Deputies said Scott changed his story the next day during an interview. He was arrested for obstruction and falsification and spent the next 60 days in jail.

Bruce’s daughters said not knowing what happened to their father has been a trying experience.

“You’ll be driving down the road and you’ll see someone walking, and you’re like, is that dad?” daughter Shaunee Bruce said. “Did we just pass our dad? Is that him? (But) it never is.”

Authorities said Scott had given several different stories and locations as to where Bruce’s body was located, but deputies said they never found his body or the car.

“You just wonder what he could have possibly done and why he won’t speak up,” daughter Harley Bruce said.

With Scott pleading guilty, the daughters are working to file a death certificate for Bruce and hold a memorial service.

Zachary Scott
Zachary Scott(Clermont County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators in both Clermont and Brown counties have been searching for any sign of Bruce, 51, of Hamersville.

His family also has asked hunters to be on the lookout.

Texas EquuSearch’s Midwest division search and recovery team also conducted an extensive search in June 2022.

Scott called 911 the night Bruce vanished and told a dispatcher Bruce was unresponsive in a car on Laurel Point Isabel Road in Washington Township, the sheriff’s office has said.

Scott also told the dispatcher, according to the sheriff’s office, that Bruce overdosed on drugs and he’d administered Narcan to him.

Scott hung up but the dispatcher called back. He answered and said Bruce had woken up thanks to the Narcan and fled in his car.

“Yeah, he took off, like when the Narcan came in, he took off like a bat out of hell,” Scott said during the call.

Clermont County sheriff’s deputies went to Laurel Point Isabel Road but couldn’t find Scott, Bruce or Bruce’s car.

Sheriff’s detectives interviewed Scott the next day.

In the interview with the sheriff’s office, Scott changed his story, which prompted charges of obstruction and falsification, sheriff’s officials said last year.

Scott pleaded guilty and received a 60-day sentence.

Scott then gave detectives another location where they might search for Bruce but that was determined to be misleading. He was charged with counts of falsification and evidence tampering.

FOX19 NOW reported last year court records show Scott admitted to deputies that the day Bruce vanished, he took off with a bunch of items, including a wallet, backpack and laptops, knowing the things he had taken could help with the investigation.

Scott also pleaded guilty to these charges, receiving another 200 days.

FOX19 NOW also reported last year that Scott has provided detectives with multiple other places in Washington Township where they might find Bruce.

Detectives searched those places and more with drones, bloodhounds and cadaver K9s.

They have also interviewed multiple persons of interest.

Anyone with information related to the disappearance of Roger “Shane” Bruce is asked to call the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at 937-378-4435 or the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office at 513)-732-7510.

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