Aunt of Dennis Menefee not surprised suspect is charged with kidnapping and raping Massillon girl

Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 29, 2016

The aunt of a man accused of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old girl said she was not shocked at all to learn her nephew was arrested for the crimes.

"I think he probably did it. I don't think his mother would tell you any different. I think he did it. He's bad," said Bessie Fensler, 88, of Dover. "There wasn't anything that he wouldn't do. I'm not shocked. I'm glad he's off the road, off the street. I'm glad he's locked up."

Menefee, 46, appeared in Fairfield County Municipal Court Thursday afternoon for a hearing. His bond was set at $1 million and a judge ordered him back to Massillon. He was being held in the Stark County Jail and is expected to appear in Massillon Municipal Court on Friday the kidnapping and rape charges.

Menefee was arrested by Fairfield County deputies at a construction site where he was working as a flag waver.

Massillon police say he posed as a police officer and pulled his grey pickup truck alongside a girl who was walking home from the library Monday.

The girl was forced into the vehicle, driven a few blocks away and raped, according to police. Court records indicate the suspect also showed the girl a gun. The records also show the girl was struck multiple times in the face causing redness, bruising and swelling and that Menefee allegedly threatened to kill the juvenile.

Fensler thinks drugs played a role in her nephew's current charges.

"He wasn't supposed to be up there (Massillon). He was supposed to be down south somewhere working," Fensler said. "He was the kind of fella that would, if a drug would make him feel funny, he would take it."

According to the Wyoming Department of Corrections, Menefee was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1999.

Reports indicate he picked up a woman, sexually assaulted her and left her in the bitter cold.

"He pushed her out of the car and drove away. She froze to death," Fensler said.

He was sentenced to four to nine years in prison, but was paroled in 2003 after serving less than four years.

He was moved to an Ohio prison where he was locked up for nine more months for a case related to a robbery, according to corrections officials.

Menefee, who has lived throughout the state of Ohio, was convicted of other crimes dating back to 1990.

He sentenced to three years' probation in 1990 for fourth-degree grand theft, according to Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court documents. 

In 1997, Menefee was sentenced to two years' probation for second-degree robbery, but failed to comply with the stipulations of his parole.

A part of the 1997 case, court documents show Menefee was discharged from the Massillon Psychiatric Center on June 5, 1995. But the details are unclear on why Menefee was sent to the center. A representative with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services was unable to confirm or deny whether or not Menefee was a patient at the center, citing federal privacy laws.  

It appears Menefee's criminal history tapered off more than a decade until 2011. He was sentenced to a year of probation of unsupervised release for the cultivation of marijuana. Under his parole requirements, Menefee was ordered not to get a drivers license. 

In a strange twist, the victim who Menefee left on the road was the mother of one of the men who killed Matthew Shepard.

Shepard was a gay college student and his killing received national attention as a hate crime.

Fensler said she feels very sorry for the 9-year-old Massillon girl involved in the abduction and sexual assault.

"She'll never be the same afterwards. A child can't get over a thing like that."

As far as Menefee is concerned, Fensler believes he's where he belongs.

"I'm glad he's locked up."


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