AKRON, Ohio — James Tomlinson is heartbroken over the murder of his 22-year-old daughter, Rebecca Tomlinson, who leaves behind two small children.
"It's surreal, just surreal," he said. "There are no words. I don't think it has hit me yet."
On Tuesday, a man walking his dog found Rebecca's body near some railroad tracks off West Wilbeth Road. The Summit County Medical Examiner ruled the case a homicide and said the victim had been shot in the head.
James Tomlinson said his daughter struggled with drug and mental health issues and was "a lost soul looking looking for love all of her life."
"She just went looking for it at the wrong places," he added.
According to family members, Rebecca met convicted felon, Timothy Sargent, through an online dating site in 2019 and the two dated for several months.
Akron police are now naming Sargent, 41, as a "person of interest" in the killing.
"Although the investigation is still ongoing, he is a person of interest. We developed that he had a prior relationship with Rebecca," said Captain Dave Laughlin.
Sargent is now the focus of a nationwide manhunt, charged with attempted murder in connection with another Akron shooting and he's also considered a person of interest for a third shooting that injured a family in Harrison County, Indiana.
"He is a complete loose cannon right now," Laughlin said. "He is a threat to anybody out there whether they know him or not. He's just completely out of control."
According to police, Sargent shot a 29-year-old man at a homeless campsite in a wooded area off North Street near the towpath on Monday night. The victim, who suffered three gunshot wounds, was treated at Summa Akron City Hospital.
"The victim knew Mr. Sargent so we were able to piece it together and quickly identified him and served the charge," Laughlin said.
However, he was not located and Indiana State Police have announced they would like to speak to Sargent about a roadside shooting that happened Wednesday evening near O'Bannon Woods State Park in southwest Harrison County.
In that case, police said a white Dodge Avenger, with its high beams on, pulled up quickly behind a Hyundai Sante Fe.
The driver of the Sante Fe pulled to the side of the highway, but the Avenger pulled alongside of it and several shots were fired into the SUV.
A male driver suffered life-threatening injuries. His wife was also struck by gunfire. A juvenile in the backseat was not hurt.
Laughlin said the Indiana shooting appears to be random and that Sargent may be stealing and burning cars during a crime spree. Laughlin said law enforcement is very worried that others will get hurt.
"There's no way of knowing how it will end," he said.
Police are also searching for 20-year-old Savannah Emich, of Akron, who may be traveling with Sargent.
"We don't know if she's willingly with him, coerced, threatened or otherwise. She is currently classified as an endangered missing person from the city of Akron," Laughlin said.
As James Tomlinson prepares for his daughter's funeral, he is praying that someone will be charged for the murder and that there will be justice for Rebecca.
"I would like to see this SOB, whatever you want to call him, put in prison for the rest of his life because death ain't justice to him. I want to see him suffer," he said.
Sargent is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs around 190 pounds.
Sargent should not be approached. If you know of his whereabouts, you’re asked to call the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED. You can also leave a tip online here.
A $5,000 reward has been offered for his arrest. Tips can be anonymous.
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Sargent served time in prison from 1999 to to 2003 for breaking and entering, theft, robbery and burglary and from 2005 to 2011 for aggravated robbery and failure to comply.
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