Tallmadge -- Tallmadge Police and agents for the Ohio Bureau of Investigation met Aug. 15 to discuss evidence in their investigation of a double homicide on Stone Creek Drive.
The remains of two bodies were found behind the home Aug. 10.
The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office identified the first set of remains Aug. 12 as 31-year-old Wendy Ralston, who lived in the home with her 5-year-old son Peyton and her 39-year-old boyfriend, whom Lt. Ron Williams has declined to identify.
In a press conference Aug. 13 at Tallmadge City Hall, Williams said the Medical Examiner's Office identified the second set of remains as Peyton.
The bodies were discovered inside a duffel bag, wrapped in a bedsheet and comforter, according to the Medical Examiner.
Williams said no cause or time of death have been determined and no suspects have been identified. He said it's "likely" that Wendy was killed inside the residence, but no weapons have been found.
Police have interviewed many people, including Wendy's boyfriend, Williams said, and the amount of evidence found inside the home and the wooded area behind the house in the case is "substantial" and needs further analysis. He didn't give a definite timeline for how long this process could take.
"I'd like to assure the community we're working on this. We will maintain security on the house and that will continue for some time to come," Williams said.
He said neighbors on Stone Creek Drive have no reason to be concerned that a dangerous person is in the area.
"Killers have been on the loose every day of my whole life," Williams said. "What I would say is that we've had at least two police officers on that house since this has become knowledge so I understand they're concerned, but I also feel they're pretty secure in their homes at this time."
According to police records, a neighbor reported Wendy and Peyton missing on July 31, saying they haven't been seen for 10 days.
"Officers did go out and speak with the [boyfriend]. He had just gotten a pizza and said they had not been home," Williams told the Tallmadge Express. "Nothing seemed to be in disarray, and he was calm."
Williams said the neighbors reported the boyfriend fled through the back door when officers arrived. He said officers spoke to the boyfriend when they found him in the backyard.
Marie Ralston went to the police station in person Aug. 7 to report her daughter missing. The last time anyone had heard from her was the morning of July 22, when she posted a message on Facebook.
"The mother herself was not overly concerned because it wasn't uncommon for Wendy to break contact with the family for a period of time," Williams said.
One minute after Marie reported her daughter missing, Wendy's boyfriend also reported her and their son were missing, police records show.
According to the Medical Examiner's report, three days later, Wendy's mother "walked the wooded area [behind the fenced-in backyard at Wendy's residence] and came across what appeared to be a duffel bag with an odor exuding from within it."
She reported the discovery in person at the police department, Williams said.
Two Tallmadge police officers went to the home, saw what appeared to be human remains and notified the Medical Examiner's Officer.
An investigator from that office confirmed remains of two people were found in the bag "wrapped in a comforter and a dark blue sheet," according to the report.
Gary Guenther, investigation supervisor at the Medical Examiner's Office, said the remains of Wendy and Peyton were badly decomposed when they were discovered. Forensic specialists are trying to determine a time and cause of death.
Investigators towed Wendy's SUV from the single-car garage and her boyfriend's SUV from the driveway for examination and so that investigators could use the garage as a "staging area" for evidence collected from the rest of the house, Williams said.
The residence has been under constant security since the remains were discovered, Williams said.
He said Wendy's boyfriend has been "very cooperative" with investigators.
He said in the past there have been "a number of" calls for police assistance at the home, mostly domestic in nature.
Wendy also has a 13-year-old daughter, who lives with her maternal grandmother about one mile away.
Tallmadge Police are asking any tips be directly reported to Williams at 330-475-7638.
The last homicide Tallmadge Police investigated was in 2004 or 2005, and Williams said the police department is "very confident" it "will handle this successfully."
Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.