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Published: Monday, 3/1/2004

B.G. woman murdered in her home


BOWLING GREEN - A young mother was murdered in her university-area home yesterday morning, her throat slit allegedly by her live-in boyfriend, who called police at 5 a.m.

Michelle Descant was found dead at the home she rented at 232 South Summit St. when Bowling Green police arrived, according to their report. Her boyfriend, William E. Ball, was charged with murder and booked into the Wood County Justice Center. His arraignment is at 1 p.m. today.

The incident is Bowling Green s first murder since 1996.

Ms. Descant, who would have turned 25 March 7, was a customer service representative at Alltel. Her 4-year-old son, Dylan Descant, was spending the night with his maternal grandmother at the time of the murder.

Ball, 35, was known to police, Sgt. Mark McDonough said. Wood County Prosecutor Ray Fischer said Ball had had problems while in the U.S. military. He was convicted in Wood County Common Pleas Court of possession of cocaine in 1997.

Police found Ms. Descant s partially clothed body and a knife that Mr. Fischer said is thought to be the murder weapon in a bedroom of the two-story house in an area where many students live.

Mr. Fischer declined to discuss a motive in the murder.

Ms. Descant, then Michelle Lentz, graduated in 1997 from Eastwood High School, where she played volleyball and softball.

She married, bore a son, and lived in Florida for a while, said her father, Larry Lentz. The marriage ended in divorce, and she returned to Wood County and lived in an apartment with her son in Bowling Green before moving to the home on Summit Street.

Before Ms. Descant was employed by Alltel, she had a job with Buckeye CableSystem.

Mr. Lentz said he was stunned when police arrived at his home near Wayne in southeastern Wood County to tell him of his only daughter s murder. Ms. Descant had seemed pretty happy, and he said he was unaware of any violence during the couple s almost yearlong relationship.

In Bowling Green, Ms. Descant s next-door neighbor Jean Fletcher said she often saw Ball playing with Ms. Descant s son and their dog in the backyard.

“It was quite a shock,” she said. “I didn t think he had a violent bone in his body.”

Ms. Descant s landlord, Raye Newlove, said she wished there were more services to assist domestic violence victims in Bowling Green.

“It s just really too bad,” she said.

Bowling Green s last murder occurred in September, 1996, when Julie Kane, 22, was stabbed by a man who barged into her residence about a mile south of campus. Craig Baker was convicted of murder and felonious assault. He was sentenced to 241/2 years in prison.

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