Three suspects have been charged with murder and aggravated robbery in the disappearance of Michael Sheppard who was last seen in Huron Co. in 2003.
Sheppard’s family said it’s the phone call they’d been waiting for for 14 years.
“I recognized the phone number, I knew it was the BCI investigator,” said Sheppard’s mother Rosalie Gottwald, who said the search for her son has consumed much of the last decade and a half of her life.
According to court records, a Huron County Grand Jury indicted Adam White, 34, Scott Hall, 44 and Joshua Stamm, 35 with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated robbery on May 12.
White and Hall were arrested in Ohio and Stamm was arrested in Florida. Stamm awaits extradition.
Rosalie Gottwald and her husband George Gottwald were brought to tears by the news.
“I’ve waited 14 years for someone to call and say that,” Rosalie Gottwald said.
But the names of the suspects were not a surprise to the couple. Gottwald said White and Hall were friends of their sons and they suspected that might be involved.
In 2008 they received a tip that their son was dead and White, Hall and Stamm were involved.
“I think almost every night — about where he might be and what they did to him. And it’s been 14 years of living with that. I didn’t have to have all of that if it had just been picked up in the beginning,” she said.
The Gottwalds said the case hit many investigative roadblocks along the way — including a lost case file early on in the search.
The Bureau of Criminal investigations took up the case in 2009 and in 2015 investigators told the family they’d be interested in pushing the case forward.
But then Huron County Prosecutor Daivia Kasper chose not pursue charges.
“The case is not strong enough to prosecute a homicide charge,” Kasper wrote in a letter obtained by News 5. “There is not enough admissible material evidence. Therefore, I will not request assistance from the Ohio Attorney General to prosecute the case at this time.”
But November’s election ushered in Prosecutor James Joel Sitterly, followed by a grand jury indictment last week.
The Huron County’s Prosecutor’s Office said Monday that the case is in the hands of the Attorney General and declined a request to comment.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office Public Information Officer Jill Del Greco told News 5 that she could not comment on the specifics of the open case moving forward.
Investigators are still looking for information on Michael Sheppard’s whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call 855-224-6446.