PERRY TOWNSHIP - The death of a Salem woman whose burned remains were found just off of Egypt Road last October has been ruled a homicide, with strangulation the cause.
The Columbiana County Coroner's Office issued its final ruling Monday in the case of 60-year-old Ardes Ruth Bauman, whose body was discovered Oct. 25, 2010 by a Perry Township Police officer who noticed a small fire and a van in the closed off area known as Cry Baby Bridge.
Chief Mike Emigh said once Sgt. George Mlinarcik came upon the scene, he realized there was a body. A van titled to Bauman was parked nearby, with the remains found outside of the unoccupied vehicle.
The cause of death had been termed under investigation by the coroner's office for several months, pending completion of testing and study of the autopsy results from the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, On the death certificate signed by Coroner Dr. William Graham Jr., the date of death was listed as Oct. 25, the day the remains were found, but the date of injury was estimated as Oct. 24, 2010, with the time of death and place of death listed as unknown.
The immediate cause of death was listed as asphyxia by cervical compression, with a description of the injury saying she was "strangled causing asphyxia and death." The amount of time between onset of the injury and death was listed as "minutes."
No arrests have been made, but Emigh said "we have people of interest." He wouldn't go into more detail about the people or the evidence.
"From the start, we had our reasons to believe it was a homicide. We just needed the coroner to confirm it," he said.
As far as he knows, this is the first homicide for the Perry Township Police Department.
Emigh said they've been handling it as a suspicious death and violent death and have tried to gather as much information as they can. An officer was specifically assigned to work full-time on the case in May, to work with the prosecutor's office.
When asked if he thought the fire was set to cover up the homicide, he said he couldn't comment on that.
Salem Police had been called on Oct. 13 to a residence on West School Street listed as Bauman's address after her brother visiting from out-of-town found their mother, Ruth Ziegler, malnourished and emaciated. The report was referred to Adult Protective Services, an arm of the Department of Job and Family Services.
An emergency guardianship case was filed by Adult Protective Services on Oct. 22 in county Probate Court regarding Ziegler, who had been taken to Salem Community Hospital for treatment. Just a few days later, Bauman's remains were found. Ziegler, who was 91 years old, later died in January this year in a nursing home facility.
Anyone with information about the Bauman homicide case should contact the Perry Township Police Department.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org