Police identify one of the bodies found in Ashland as missing woman

Posted at 4:01 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 19:02:01-04

Police officially identified Wednesday afternoon one of the bodies found in Ashland as a missing woman from Huron County.

One of the bodies found Tuesday morning belonged to 43-year-old Stacey Stanley.

Stanley's uncle, Ron, told the family was asked to come to the police station around midnight to look at photos. The family concluded that one of the bodies found was that of Stanley.

Stanley was last seen around 10 p.m. last Thursday at the BP gas station on the corner of East Main Street and Union Street. According to the family, Stanley called her brother that night saying she had a flat tire but was on her way home. She never returned.

Bodies found in Ashland and Richland counties

A woman called Ashland police early Tuesday, reporting she was being held inside a home against her will. When officers responded to the area of East 4th Street and Covert Court, they found the woman alive along with 40-year-old Shawn Michael Grate. The remains of two other people were also found.

The Ashland home is owned by Pump Ministries. The director of the organization said it has been vacant since March and he's puzzled as to how Grate got inside.

"He may have shimmied the window," said director Bruce Wilkinson. "We haven't been in the home so we don't have a clue."

Once in police custody, Grate told police that, in addition to the remains that were found in Ashland, he also killed another woman in June. That led police to Madison Township where they found a third woman's remains in the woods behind an abandoned house. 

Missing women

The families of Stanley and another missing woman — Elizabeth Griffith — were present at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Ashland.


During the news conference, one of Stanley's relatives claimed police refused to help search for her. 

"We would’ve liked to have had some help," the man said Tuesday. "I prayed to god my niece Stacy, the one who has been missing since Thursday, her car was found up here on 9th street. She had been abducted from a BP station. We got a hold of every cop, sheriff to help us, we had zero help from them. We combed this area and shook this guy’s cage, got him rattled, he screwed up because we’re banging on his door last night where they were being held and he got rattled because of what the community did, what their family had done. We combed this area and rattled his cage. No thanks to police officers."

"When you tell the police officer something is wrong, something is wrong," said Stanley's son, Curtis. "My mom was missing Thursday night. I know my Mom and so does my family better than anybody. It took them two to three days to even consider putting a missing persons report out."

Ashland police said a missing person report had not been filed before the woman was found alive in Ashland. 

According to police, the remains found in Richland County are too old to be those of Griffith.

Shawn Michael Grate 

Grate's history with the law dates back to 1994. In November 1994, he went to jail for assault charges and in 1997 was again incarcerated for burglary. He was found guilty of disorderly conduct, unlawful restraint and criminal trespassing in March 1999. Other charges on his record include aggravated menacing, theft, domestic violence, violation of a protection order and abduction.

Tracey Young of Ashland told Grate lured her to the home two weeks ago after she met him at a party. Young said Grate asked her for sex, offering her alcohol and pills but she quickly had a bad feeling about the situation and minutes later was able to run out of the house.

Police believe Grate is homeless. The homes where the bodies were found in Ashland were supposed to be vacant.

Grate is currently being held in the Ashland County Jail on an abduction charge.

The Richland County Coroner responded to the Madison Township crime scene Wednesday morning. 

The Ohio Bureau of Investigation is assisting police with the investigation.