ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — The FBI and Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County have increased their reward for information that leads to arrests in the murders of Kate Brown and Carnell Sledge at the Rocky River Reservation on June 4. This announcement represents the latest in a string of pleas to the public by authorities who are seeking information related to the mysterious double-homicide.
The FBI has increased the reward money available for information leading to successful identification and prosecution of the person or persons responsible from $20,000 to $25,000. Crime Stoppers is increasing its announced reward amount up to $5,000.
Brown and Sledge's bodies were discovered at about 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday after police responded to a report of two deceased people in the Rocky River Reservation, just north of the Lorain Road Bridge. Sledge, of North Olmsted, was found outside in the grass off the Valley Parkway, and Brown, of Fairview Park, was found in the water near the Valley Parkway. Officials said the two had been had been friends for over 10 years. It was common for them to fraternize together, and they were not believed to be romantically involved.
“Someone in the public holds the vital piece of information needed to provide Kate and Carnell’s family’s an answer. If you have information regarding these unsolved murders, please contact law enforcement immediately. The families and the community need closure,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith.
They arrived in separate vehicles at approximately 5:04 p.m. to the pull-off lot north of the Lorain Bridge. They exited their vehicles and sat on the park bench along the river. Within minutes of their arrival, they were shot in the head, sometime between 5:08 and 5:15 p.m. Two kayakers pulled into the Lorain Road lot within minutes at approximately 5:18 and observed the victims. They immediately called 911.
"It is solvable, somebody has the key," said Smith.
The area known as the pull-off lot is highly trafficked. Numerous joggers, walkers, kayakers and vehicles cut through the area. Law enforcement officials believe it's likely someone was nearby at the time of the murders.
Smith said agents have followed several leads but none have lead to the killer.
"We haven't overlooked the fact, it could be random," said Smith.
Investigators would like anyone who was in the park between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of June 4 to call the FBI at 216-522-1400, CrimeStoppers at 216-252-7463 or Metroparks Police at 440-331-5219. Reward money is available.