Fla. Craigslist Jobseeker Found Dead In Ohio Grave

Craigslist jobseeker deadBy JoAnne Viviano

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A jobseeker from Florida who responded to a bogus Craigslist ad for a job on a southeast Ohio cattle farm was found dead, buried in a shallow grave, and another from South Carolina was shot but escaped by running away through the woods, a sheriff said Thursday.

Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said two men were taken into custody after cadaver dogs found the body of the Florida man this week in a grave in a remote area outside Caldwell, a small village about 80 miles east of Columbus.

The Akron Beacon Journal identified the two as a 16-year-old student from Stow-Munroe Falls High School and a 52-year-old Akron man.

The adult is being held in the Summit County Jail on $1 million bond, the newspaper said. His attorney could not be reached for comment. No further information was available about the juvenile.

Hannum said the search was undertaken after the South Carolina man escaped from the area on Nov. 6 and notified police, who later found a hand-dug grave authorities believe had been meant for him.

An autopsy on the Florida man was being performed Thursday in Licking County, outside Columbus, and Hannum said names of the suspects and victims were being withheld until at least Friday.

Authorities received a call five days after the South Carolina man was shot from the Florida man's twin sister, concerned that her brother had not been heard from since Oct. 22 in Parkersburg, W.Va., the sheriff said. The twin, in Boston, said her brother had responded to what she believed was the same Craigslist ad, which sought a caretaker for cattle on a 688-acre farm.

The sheriff said the South Carolina man had been told to carry his belongings to Ohio because he'd be living at the farm, and robbery was believed to be the motive.

"It seems that this was just a ruse to lure victims into the trap, most likely to commit a murder and relieve the deceased of their personal property," Hannum said.

He said it was unknown how long the ad had been online or how many people may have responded.

The sheriff said the call prompted officers to return to the remote area, where they found the grave believed to have been intended for the South Carolina man.

"A grave obviously had been dug that we assume had been dug for him, but he was shot and wounded and he got away," Hannum said. "We brought in cadaver dogs thinking that a possibility that the person that was advertising on Craigslist and lured this guy down here may very well have lured someone else to the same area. Our hunch was correct."

The cadaver search began Monday, and officers found the body the following day. The suspects were arrested Wednesday in Summit County, in northeast Ohio, about 90 miles away.

Hannum said the South Carolina man had hidden in the woods for about seven hours with a gunshot wound to his arm.

The man eventually made his way to a house about 2 miles away. He told police he had been walking in a wooded area with one of the men when he heard a gun cock and turned to see a firearm pointed at his head. He pushed it away and ran. He said multiple shots were fired and he was hit once.

The man said he had met the others for breakfast and later rode with them in a vehicle, believing he was headed to the farm, until he was told a landslide had closed the road and entered the woods on foot.

The Craigslist website, which features free classified ads for housing, jobs, personal announcements, items for sale and services, among other things, has been blamed for a number of deaths, including that of a New York City masseuse who authorities say was killed in 2009 by a Boston medical student she met through the site.

More recently, in September, the last of four defendants was sentenced in the 2010 killing of a Tacoma, Wash.-area man in a home robbery during which the group pretended to be interested in a diamond ring advertised on Craigslist.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has urged people to take precautions when using the site.

"It's been devastating to see that it can also be used by bad people to take cruel advantage of others," he said in 2009 at a ceremony honoring a Minnesota woman who died after responding to a phony ad for a baby sitter.

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Craigslist job advertisements have been mostly anonymous.

They are mostly placed by agencies or are scams or shams. Or it's somebody who is collecting names and addresses for who knows what reason.

If you are seeking a job via Craigslist, do not reply to the anonymous ads.

I usually ask them for the company name and address and website and when i get no reply on that, I know the ad is not from a legit company or is a scam.

If you insist on doing so, anonymize your information:

Don't give your name: just your initials.
Do not put your address and landline/cell phone on the resume -- list an email addy that you take out via a freemail account just for this purpose.
Do not give your company names and addresses, only a descripton of what kind of business it is (ie "Insurance Company", "Ad Agency," "major corporation A"

The company will email you if they are legit -- and only then, google the name and demand to know their address and company name. Release no other info and do not agree to an interview until you know that the company is a real one.

DO NOT supply a credit report to them and do not give them your very sensitive data, like your SSN.

For love of Mike:


December 18 2011 at 6:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Very scary. But this is the exception not the rule. There are always criminals looking for opportunities to take advantage of people no matter what method, just use some common sense. I have bought and sold and also gotten a lot of free stuff off of cl. All those people who say they will never use it are just deluding themselves and acting idiotic. Unless they are living under a rock they can still run into a criminal anyway.

November 19 2011 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joanie Jaye

I can just imagine what they have to go through. It too much crimes going on. I am sick and tired of it. I do not use craig list, and never will.

November 19 2011 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, please be careful. One of my children was ripped off. They took some of her furniture and never paid her. She was about 19 at the time. How people could take advantage of someone, especially a young or older person, is horrible to me.

November 19 2011 at 1:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've sold some of my paintings and have gotten a couple of things from the Free section. Never had any problems. Guess I've been lucky.

November 19 2011 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Craigslist is NO different than your local paper....Everyone please be smart and use your head.

November 18 2011 at 11:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

scary story .... i buy on craigslist and have gotten great buys i also use the daily news paper not much different buying from it

November 18 2011 at 9:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You have to use common sense. I have sold on Craigslist but I have never allowed anyone into my house and I don't meet anyone alone. The same goes if I am buying. I take my husband and we never go inside. Open garage doors and stand outside. Oh, and don't take checks.

November 18 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I would never use craigslist for anything, because of all this type of thing happening. I also stopped using my local FREECYCLE site because of the weirdos and no-goods using that site to come into peoples yards and homes for no good intent. I just give the stuff to Goodwill now. (FREECYCLE is a site where people give away things that are still good but they don't want them anymore. They are free for the taking).

November 18 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have sold a lot of stuffs on Craiglist. There are usually some weirdos that respond to my ads but I know how to spot them and I can tell you I don't fail to curse the hell out of them and they certainly fall into their own traps. You have to make sure you get a phone number and a name. The nature of the business and don't give away your phone number. If you are selling something, get the prospective buyers' number and call them. If they don't leave you a phone number. That is a sign. In addition, I think Craiglist list to obtain some kinds of information other than emails that can trace its users. If you use the site for free, you must be willing to provide information to authenticate you

November 18 2011 at 8:11 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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