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

Big break in two unsolved cases
Published: Nov. 16, 2016 at 4:53 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2016 at 3:20 AM EST
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Katelyn Markham (Provided)
Katelyn Markham (Provided)
Chelsea Johnson (file)
Chelsea Johnson (file)

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - The Butler County Sheriff's Office is looking into new leads in the unsolved disappearances and deaths of two women, officials announced Wednesday.

Investigators have narrowed in on two separate persons of interest in the cases of Katelyn Markham and Chelsea Johnson.

The sheriff's office announced the new leads in a single press release Wednesday. There's no indication the two cases are related.

In 2012, 15-year-old Chelsea Johnson was found stabbed to death in the woods behind an apartment complex on Brookfield Drive.

"I don't wish this pain on my worst enemy. Nobody should have to go through this. A 15-year old baby? She's supposed to outlive me," Johnson's mother Vicky Fible said.

21-year-old Katelyn Markham disappeared from her Fairfield home in August 2011. Her remains were found in April 2013 near Cedar Grove, IN.

Markham's father has never given up hope that her killer would be caught.

"I've always felt that her case will be solved. It will come out. There will be an answer. The sheriff's office is one step closer to that answer," Dave Markham said. "I've been let down too many times though to get too encouraged. It is a positive move. It is a good thing. But, it's still not over. It's not solved."

The "person of interest" has not been identified and no arrests have been announced.

"These are very tough cases for everyone involved. They were just kids honestly, and you really want someone to be brought to justice for these heinous acts," said Sheriff Richard Jones. "If anyone has any information at all on either of these cases, I urge you to call. Even something that may seem small can be huge in helping these victim's families, and aid in getting those responsible off the street and behind bars.

Late last year, the Butler County Sheriff's Office agreed to bring fresh eyes to Markham's case. After a 9 month review, the Sheriff's office was able to eliminate some persons of interest, said Sgt. Rob Whitlock.

Chelsea Johnson's investigation was presented at a Grand Jury and was left open.

"All I do is sit here and cry. It just gets harder and harder. No matter what I do, no matter what I look at - everything around reminds me of her," Fible said. "I'm going to keep putting her name out there until it's solved because then I'd feel like I'm giving up on my daughter and that's not good."

Anyone with information about either case is asked to call Detective Joe Nerlinger at (513) 759-7344.

In October, Markham's story was featured on Crime Watch Daily, which airs on FOX19 Now.

In the episode, a private detective questioned some of the statements made in the 911 call made by Markham's fiance, John Carter.

At this point, that's not known to be connected to the case.

In August, a filmmaker debuted a documentary about Markham's life and disappearance.

There is still a $100,000 reward as part of the investigation.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call Detective Joe Nerlinger at (513) 759-7344.

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