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Published: Saturday, 12/9/2000

Grandmother's killing stuns family

BY DEE DRUMMOND
BLADE STAFF WRITER

KUNKLE, O. - The last night of Mary Kosier's life began like many others.

She said good-bye to her truck-driver husband as he left for Minneapolis. Two hours later, the 56-year-old grandmother drove to the Econo Lodge motel, just off the Ohio Turnpike on State Rt. 15 in Williams County, for another shift as the night desk clerk.

Around 10 p.m., she talked to her daughter over the telephone about plans to travel to Indiana the next day to attend a granddaughter's Christmas concert.

But those plans were silenced sometime after midnight when Mrs. Kosier was fatally shot in the head after being robbed and kidnapped from the motel. Her body was dumped underneath a nearby bridge.

The robbers snatched $181 from the cash drawer.

“They had the money; they didn't have to take her,” said Rita Kosier, who is married to Mrs. Kosier's son, Jeffery.

Two men who were raised in nearby Pioneer, O., have been charged in Mrs. Kosier's death.

Jason Lamar Crawford, 20, of Toledo, and James B. Jones, 18, of Wauseon, have been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping. They are being held in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio without bond until a grand jury hears their case on Thursday.

The Kosier family gathered yesterday in their parent's rural home near Pioneer, clearly stunned by the tragic news.

“It was starting to snow so I checked the tires on her van and told her to take it easy,” Marshal Kosier, Jr., said about the last time he saw his wife of 36 years.

“It really hasn't set in yet because I haven't seen her yet,” he said, his eyes filling with tears.

It was a good time in Mrs. Kosier's life. After raising four children with her husband, she enjoyed doting on her 10 grandchildren.

There finally was extra money to indulge her passions: an angel figurine collection and a love of crafts and sewing. Her living room was overflowing with the material, ribbons, and yarn she used in her projects.

“Last Christmas I bought her a machine that does embroidery,” said Mr. Kosier, holding a pink, tie-dyed T-shirt adorned with clowns and glitter that his wife had made for a granddaughter. “The joy she had over that machine, that's what I'll remember.”

This year, Mrs. Kosier got her Christmas present early - a computer program to help with her crafts. She was planning to scan photographs into the computer to make personalized cloth dolls for her grandchildren.

Small porcelain angels handpainted with each grandchild's name waited in a nearby cabinet to be hung on the tree.

Yesterday, Mrs. Kosier's niece, Janie Lenz, recalled an angel card her aunt gave her several years ago. It symbolized a donation her aunt had made to a hospice memorial tree in memory of Ms. Lenz's father, who died of cancer.

“She did things like that out of nowhere, just to show she cared,” Ms. Lenz said.

Other relatives recalled how Mrs. Kosier, one of seven children, organized a family reunion last fall.

“She was always the one that kept up on the family history; what are we going to do now?” niece Jody Schmucker said.

It was Mrs. Kosier's son, Jeffery Kosier, who first learned his mother was missing just after 6 a.m. Thursday.

He and his siblings spent the next four hours searching the community, but with heavy hearts.

“I knew there was no way she would leave her purse, coat, and boots at the motel,” Jeffery Kosier said. “She would never leave that place unlocked. That's not my mom.”

Mrs. Kosier was abducted sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Thursday, Williams County Prosecutor Bill Bish said.

Authorities said Mrs. Kosier was murdered shortly after being kidnapped from the motel. The two suspects were arrested the same day at a home in nearby Pioneer, O., after their car was spotted at a convenience store robbery in Bryan. The men allegedly robbed the store after they killed Mrs. Kosier.

For now, the Kosier children said their grief is overshadowed by the anger they feel over their mother's death and the unanswered questions about the last moments of her life.

But there is some solace in knowing two men have been charged with her murder.

“I just hope it helps stop these crimes,” her husband said softly. “I know there's always supposed to be something good come out of this but it's hard to see what it's going to be.”



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