CLEVELAND — The family of 39-year-old Caleb Marple, who went missing for 12 days until his body was found in the Cuyahoga River, is looking for answers to what led to his death.
Breana Roberts said she and her uncle were close.
“He was the nicest guy. He would do anything for anybody,” she said. “He was a jokester.”
She said he loved his family and to have a good time, and that was what the night of May 17 started out as Marple and a group of friends went to Barley House in Cleveland.
“There was a verbal exchange and he was asked to leave the establishment,” said Robert Slattery, the family’s private investigator.
But Marple never made it back to his Westlake home. According to witnesses, he continued walking about 10 more minutes, where he was involved in a fight with a group outside of the Archer Apartments in the Flats. After that altercation, witnesses said he continued walking.
His family and friends searched for him for 12 days.
“We felt like we had to like push things ourselves, to find out information ourselves,” said Roberts.
His body was found in the Cuyahoga River. Later, the medical examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning. Both Westlake, where the initial missing person’s report was filed, and Cleveland Police closed the case.
But Roberts and Caleb’s family and friends, don’t buy it.
“It just doesn’t make sense. Somebody had to have placed him there,” said Roberts.
According to Westlake police reports, witnesses said during that altercation, Marple was body-slammed and police later found blood in the entryway of the Archer Apartments.
“The family has questions. Some of the parts of the case just don’t add up,” said Slattery.
Longtime family friend Brandon Strinka echoed his sentiment.
"It’s hard not to question some of the things and actions that were taken and how Cleveland conducted this lack of an investigation," he said.
Now, Slattery is working to get his hands on surveillance footage from that night and piece together exactly what happened. The goal is to get the medical examiner to overturn the cause of death and reopen Marple’s case.
“Which we believe would force the hands of the law enforcement agency to further this investigation,” he said.
Strinka said they are close to finding the answers they are seeking. He’s just hoping more people come forward.
“We know everybody’s names,” he said. “Too many people know what happened that night, too many people were involved.”
Roberts said already more witnesses are coming forward and she’s asking them to continue to do so.
“Sooner or later the truth is going to come out.”
Slattery has started an anonymous tip line for anyone who knows anything about Marple’s case. Anyone who has tips are encouraged to call 216-410-8579.