Missing person case turns into homicide investigation

By Ryan Berry

DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — A missing person case has turned deadly in Darke County. According to Greenville Chief of Police Eric Roberts and Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker, the agencies are investigating the death of Corey Fleming, 30, of at large, but formerly a Greenville and Union City resident.

Chief Roberts stated his department received a call on Thursday in regards to Fleming while at almost the same time a missing person report was being filed in Union City, Ohio through Chief Mark Ater’s office by Fleming’s family. Greenville police immediately began to investigate and soon learned they would need to get the Darke County Sheriff’s Office involved. “Last Thursday, someone came forward with some information that started an investigation. We started looking for the victim at the same time the Union City Police had a missing person report. Our investigation made it necessary for us to reach out to the sheriff’s office for assistance due to everything expanding outside the city. At that time detectives from Greenville Police and Darke County Sheriff started working on a collaborative effort,” said Chief Roberts.

The case continued to move forward and on Saturday, the team had information leading them to a commercial poultry operation on Washington Road in Brown Township. “Darke County Sheriff Deputies and detectives and Greenville Police detectives and patrolmen had information that led us to a poultry operation on a farm in northern Darke County,” said Sheriff Whittaker. During the search they found a shallow grave with body of Flemming.

The body was exhumed and released to the Darke County Coroner’s office and was sent to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for forensic examination to determine cause and manner of death. “The Darke County Coroner Dr. Kathman is the one who decides cause and manner of death. Cause of death, we are aware of, but we’re not willing to share that right now. They have not ruled on the manner of death,” said Sheriff Whittaker.

“At this time because of the circumstances that we’ve learned from this investigation as well as the fact that he was buried on a farm, we are treating this as a homicide investigation and that investigation is ongoing,” said Whittaker.

The sheriff added there are two individuals that investigators are interested in; Dean M. Baker, 35 of Greenville, and Ashlee Fletcher, 37, of Greenville. Baker is currently wanted on Tampering with Evidence, a felony of the third degree and Fletcher is wanted on Having Weapons While Under Disability, a felony of the fourth degree. Whittaker stressed these charges are directly related to the homicide investigation. In addition to being wanted for the charges, they are also wanted for questioning.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of both individuals. Whittaker added, “We believe the two of them are traveling together; likely out of state at this point.” Baker and Fletcher were spotted in another state prior to the warrants being entered, which leads investigators to believe they are fleeing the area. A BOLO (Be On the Look Out) has been issued to departments from Ohio to Florida. “(They are) likely fugitives from justice because we are pretty sure they are aware of their circumstances,” said Whittaker. They are considered armed and dangerous. Whittaker was adamant the two individuals are more than persons of interest. “They are suspects,” he said.

Whittaker and Roberts refrained from sharing too much information about the case, “We are trying to keep it close to the vest so we don’t compromise the integrity of the investigation,” the sheriff said. However, the sheriff did confirm that all three individuals may have been familiar with each other as well as being familiar to both law enforcement agencies. “We are at the base of this investigation and it is expanding,” said Chief Roberts. Whittaker shared there has been some good cooperation from some of the individuals they have spoken to regarding the investigation. “Some folks are cooperative and some folks are not. That’s just the nature of some of these investigations.”

Anyone who may have information on this case or the whereabouts of these subjects are encouraged to contact the Darke County Sheriff’s Office at 937-548-2020 or the Greenville Police Department at 937-548-1103.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected]