CLEVELAND — A couple from Canton has been desperate for answers after their elderly loved one was brutally murdered in a small Ohio town. Bob and Kathy Kennedy told us they had been running into roadblocks for justice during the last 12 years. They turned to News 5 for assistance, and after we reached out to the governor's office, the case has new light with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“Her jawbone, her eye socket, top of her head was laid open,” said Bob about his 91-year-old mother Grace Kennedy when police found her. “I don’t know what kind of an animal would do this to another human being.”
The homicide happened in 2009 in Bryan, Ohio, near the Indiana border. The Kennedys told us the small-town police department thought it could wrap up the case in a matter of days. However, days turned into years with no arrests.
In our recent interview, the Kennedys made a direct plea to Governor Mike DeWine. When DeWine was running for the AG’s Office back in 2010, during his campaign, he mentioned Grace’s case specifically as one that needed more help.
“If you really care as much as you cared at that point in time to get elected, you will put pressure on the powers that be to get this investigation active and expanded, and all the resources necessary to put towards it,” said Kathy.
We took the Kennedys' plea to the governor’s office. Within days, the Attorney General’s Office told us the Bryan Police Department formally asked the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Cold Case Unit to help.
On top of that, Bob announced that on top of the $10,000 reward about the already being offered in this case: “I’m going to go on camera right now and say I will offer an additional $10,000 to the pot.”
All of it to find a killer that could still be on the loose and bring closure for Grace’s family.
“I need to know what happened,” said Bob.
The Kennedys also set up a Change.org petition asking for help with the case. So far, it has nearly 1,600 signatures.
The Bryan Police Department, the Bryan mayor, and the Williams County Prosecutor’s Office all denied us an on-camera interview. Bryan’s mayor did send us this statement recently before formally asking for the Cold Case Unit’s help:
Dear Mr. Walsh:
I am responding to your email of August 24, 2021 concerning the Grace Kennedy murder investigation. I would like to first say that I understand the frustration and loss the Kennedy family must be going through. The City of Bryan would also like to have this case solved and ensure justice for Ms. Kennedy and some closure for her family.
I was not the mayor when Grace Kennedy was killed and the City has its third Police Chief since then as well. However, I would like to pint [sic] out that some of the information in your email is not correct. The Bryan Police Department sought immediate assistance from the Ohio Bureau of criminal Investigation (BCI&I) as well as other outside sources. Additionally, there have been various leads that have been followed up on but that have proven unproductive.
The Bryan City Police Department has kept the Grace Kennedy murder case status as an ‘open investigation,’ as we continue to look at any suspect(s) and/or leads as they come in. Again, from day one we have been working in conjunction with BCI&I investigators and their crime lab utilizing whatever technology is available. Multiple pieces of evidence have been submitted, as well as DNA samples from suspect(s) for comparison and elimination. We have also reached out and utilized the FBI, FBI Behavioral Unit, and the US Marshal Services.
As you must be aware, disclosure of an ongoing criminal investigation can, in some cases, jeopardize and even compromise the investigation. With that in mind, we respectfully decline any sit down interview or further discussion with this case, to protect the integrity of the investigation. We always encourage the public, and we hope you will join us in this request, to contact Bryan Police Department with any leads or suspicions so we can continue to investigate Ms. Kennedy’s murder.