Court documents reveal new, horrifying details about possible motive behind Ashtabula teen's murder

SAYBROOK TWP, Ohio - When a 13-year-old girl was found dead in Ashtabula earlier this month, it appeared her murder was the result of a random, violent act by a registered sex offender. But a new court document paints a far more disturbing picture about what happened before Kara Zdanczewski's body was discovered in a rural Saybrook Township field.

That document, an affidavit filed by an Ashtabula City Police Department officer, says her alleged kidnapper, John Bove, told investigators the teen was ultimately killed, and her body set on fire, over a $3,000 drug debt owed by the girl's father.  

RELATED: Coroner confirms body found in Ashtabula County is that of missing teen Kara Zdanczewski

The police affidavit, filed on May 18, details how Bove told investigators that he and Malachi D. Schultz took Kara with the intent to trade her safety to her father, Stanley Zdanczewski, who allegedly owed Schultz thousands of dollars for Methamphetamine.

Pictured: Malachi D. Schultz 

Stanley and Debra Zdanczewski told police that on May 9 "they had entrusted their 13-year-old daughter, Kara Zdanczewski, to their friend, John Richard Bove, while they resolved an argument they were having. Bove took Kara and left. They never returned."

The affidavit went on to describe Bove's gruesome account of the events that day. He said he and Schultz "stopped and struck Kara to make her stop yelling” as they were driving through a rural section of Ashtabula County. When they reached Austinburg Road — a road that runs through Ashtabula along Interstate 90 — Bove told Schultz to leave and then killed Kara. 

Kara's body was found in a field off Austinburg Road on May 11.

Schultz allegedly gave Bove a change of clothing. Another man mentioned in the documents, Stanley Wilfong, agreed to dispose of the bloody clothes for Bove. Those clothes have not yet been recovered.

Pictured: Stanley Wilfong

Convicted sex offender and suspect in Ashtabula teen's death taught at local library

The documents state that Bove also disposed of a knife "used at the murder scene" that Schultz hid in an air conditioner at his home where it was later found by police.

In a strange twist, kidnapping and complicity to murder charges against Schultz were dismissed Tuesday, shortly after News 5 obtained the documents. At the time of the dismissal, new charges of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence were filed. Court records indicate the previous and more serious charges could be re-filed "pending the confirmation of information received from witnesses by way of forensic and DNA test results."

Wilfong was charged with tampering of evidence and obstruction of justice. 

Bove is being held on a kidnapping charge and on Tuesday was charged with aggravated murder. 

Bove's wife, Debra Ann Bove, was previously charged with obstructing justice. 

The Ashtabula County Coroner told News 5 Tuesday morning that an official cause of death has not yet been determined. 

News 5 went to the home of Stanley Zdanczewski to request a statement but no one answered the door. 

News 5 reached out to the Ashtabula Solicitor's Office for comment but as of Tuesday evening did not receive a response. 
 
In a press release, the solicitor's office said that arrangements are pending to bring Bove to Ashtabula to be arraigned. 

 

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