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Published: Thursday, 12/11/2008

Murdered man called authorities on burglary

Bunch Bunch

Nearly 10 hours before the body of Robert Porter was found inside his burning home in Northwood, the 60-year-old man called police to report a burglary at a vacant house next door.

Mr. Porter told a 911 operator that a woman believed to be inside the house at 354 West Andrus Rd. on Monday was Sarah Bunch, who later was charged with fatally shooting Mr. Porter, authorities said.

Ms. Bunch, 20, of 27695 Tracy Rd., Lot 383, Perrysburg Township was charged with murder and remains in the Wood County jail in lieu of a $300,000 bond.

Mr. Porter called Northwood police about 6:55 a.m. Monday after seeing Ms. Bunch inside the house, according to an incident report.

When officers arrived about three minutes later, Ms. Bunch and Mr. Porter were talking outside.

But Northwood Police Chief Thomas Cairl said officers believe Ms. Bunch didn't enter the house, but only walked up to it.

"There was nothing we could charge her with," he said.

The officers checked Ms. Bunch for any outstanding warrants. She had none. The officers then left, Chief Cairl said.

Paul Dobson, a Wood County assistant prosecutor, said he is unsure if there is a connection between the burglary report and the murder, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

"We don't know exactly how that relates to the later incident," Mr. Dobson said of the call Mr. Porter made to police.

Mr. Porter's body was found inside his house at 350 West Andrus about 4:30 p.m. Monday by authorities who responded to a report of a fire.

He was found in a rear room of his house while firefighters doused a blaze that appeared to have started in a front bedroom.

Ms. Bunch was taken from the scene in an ambulance to Bay Park Community Hospital Monday night, where she spent six to seven hours before she was taken into custody.

Mr. Dobson declined to say why she was taken to the hospital.

Ms. Bunch admitted to shooting Mr. Porter, a longtime carpenter at the University of Toledo, and indicated a motive, according to authorities who have declined to release those details.

Mr. Porter died of at least one gunshot in the head, Mr. Dobson said.

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