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Published: Friday, 5/4/2001

Police say death of homeless man like '99 slaying

A preliminary autopsy yesterday on the body of a homeless man found Wednesday near International Park showed that he died of multiple blunt-force injuries. The death is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said that detectives are investigating whether the murder might be linked to the murder of a homeless man in the same area about 17 months ago.

The body found Wednesday was that of Reginald Darnell Jones, 37, of Cincinnati. He had injuries all over his body, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner.

Toledo police Lt. Rick Reed declined to release the manner or specific cause of death.

A final autopsy ruling is pending toxicology tests and the police investigation.

Authorities have not been able to determine how long the body was in the wooded area near the park along the Maumee River across from downtown Toledo before it was found Wednesday.

The discovery was made after a bicyclist told police Tuesday night that he had seen a deceased person in the woods. The bicyclist and police searched the area, but could not find the body.

Detectives continued the search Wednesday and found the body about 10:40 a.m. between the roadway at 26 Main St. and an abandoned railroad right-of-way in the area of the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship, authorities said.

On Dec. 3, 1999, police found the body of a severely beaten homeless man on the same stretch of wooded, city-owned property where Mr. Jones' body was discovered.

That victim was later identified as Ted Goodacre, 54, described as a drifter with a drinking problem who originally was from Tecumseh. He had been beaten severely. His body was found between the rail right-of-way and the McDonald's restaurant at 90 Main St.

The victim was partially clothed, but there was no indication of sexual assault. The murder remains unsolved.

Mr. Goodacre had spent some time at the Cherry Street Mission and other shelters.

Sgt. Daniel Ray, who helped search the site Tuesday night, said the homeless are attracted to the wooded area because of its closeness to the river and shelters in and around the downtown area.

“It is not a place you would take your family,” he said. “They have been known to set up booby traps.” Those include shallow pits covered over with brush around campsites and ringing the sites with feces, he said.

Police periodically dismantle the campsites and move out the homeless when they try to panhandle visitors at International Park and cause other problems.



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