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Published: Thursday, 8/27/2009

Body at marina near Oak Harbor unidentified

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

OAK HARBOR - Law enforcement officials are continuing to search for the identity of a young woman whose body was weighted down by two concrete blocks in shallow water at a marina near Oak Harbor.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office yesterday expanded its search for the woman's identity into Michigan and surrounding areas and was in contact with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Chief Deputy Randy Riedmaier said he hoped widespread publicity about a star-shaped tattoo on the woman, whose body was found Tuesday night at Lamberjack's Marina in Carroll Township, would help bring someone forward who can identify her.

The victim, who has a small five-point star tattoo with a sunburst design in the middle done with blue ink, is presumed to be white, of thin build, and in her late teens or early 20s, the sheriff's office said. The body, with arms bound behind her back and feet tied together, was found about

6:20 p.m. at the marina along West Locust Point Road, authorities said. She was wearing only a white tank-top and bra.

Three people on jet skis found the body and called the Carroll Township Police Department. The body was recovered by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Underwater Response Team after a township police officer confirmed the object in the water was a body.

There was no immediate indication of the cause of death. The body was taken to the Lucas County Coroner's Office for an autopsy. The coroner could not be reached for comment.

Investigators estimated the body might have been in the water one to two weeks.

Vince Lamberjack, marina manager, said he drove past the area a few times in recent days but wasn't close enough to see anything that looked like a body. It looked like an old tire or old bur-lap bag there in the water, he said.

Although weighted down, the body raised up a little bit when it started to decompose, he said, and as a result, the two men and a woman who were on jet skis noticed the back of the body sticking out of the water, Mr. Lamberjack said. They were returning to the ramp to take their jet skis out of the water when they saw the body.

Law enforcement officials were on the scene until about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. Some officials returned to the marina yesterday, he said.

"I have no idea how she got there or who put her there," said Mr. Lamberjack, but he has some ideas. He speculates that "whoever killed her, took her out on the dock and rolled her off of it." He thinks the killer drove to the dock or came there on foot, and the body was weighted down while on the dock. But, he said, maybe the killer came in on a boat and pushed her off the boat.

Crime occurs from time to time in the area, he said. Sometimes people report items missing from their boats, and one time "a guy was beaten and robbed out on the street," but "nothing like this" has happened, he said. "We have brought in bodies drowned out in the lake, but this is the first crime scene as I would call it, I guess."

The marina is at Turtle Creek and Lake Erie, two miles west of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant.

The killer, he said, could be anyone from anywhere. "We get people all over the country in our marina at various times," he said.

Anyone with information about the victim's identity is asked to call the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

Chief Deputy Riedmaier said the last time something of this nature occurred in the county was about 10 years ago.

On Dec. 31, 1999, a white woman's headless torso was found wrapped in layers of plastic on private property north of Clay Center.

An autopsy showed the torso matched the limbs of Tracy Jane Islam, 35, formerly of Plymouth, Mich., whose severed arms and legs were found Dec. 22 in a bag in a Dearborn, Mich., Dumpster. Azizul Islam of Plymouth was convicted in the 1999 murder and dismembering of his estranged wife.

Toledo detectives went to the marina Tuesday night to investigate whether the body was that of Cindy Sumner, but it did not appear to be her, officials said.

Ms. Sumner, 21, who has muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and learning disabilities, was reported missing three weeks ago today after she failed to meet her mother at their North Erie Street home in Toledo. Ms. Sumner's family has offered $1,000 for information about her location.

Ms. Sumner has since become the focus of an extensive search by law enforcement. As of yesterday, her whereabouts were still unknown.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stopper at 419-255-1111.

Staff writer Erica Blake contributed to this report.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6006.



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