PAULDING COUNTY, Ohio (WANE) The man found dead in a Paulding County cemetery this week has been identified as the suspect in the death of a 21-year-old woman killed last month in Paulding.
Frank H. Tracy Jr., 47, died of a single gunshot to the head. His body was found at Rochester Cemetery by a mushroom hunter Tuesday evening, covered in a blanket, 15 miles from the spot his vehicle was located near the Defiance airport weeks ago.
Paulding County Coroner Joseph Kuhn said Tracy died of a single gunshot to the head, and ruled his death a homicide.
Police had been searching for Tracy since Feb. 9, when the body of Hannah Fischer – his ex-girlfriend – was found in a Paulding apartment. Kuhn said Friday she, too, had been shot once in the head. Her death was ruled a homicide, and a warrant was issued days later for Tracy’s arrest.
With both Tracy and Fischer now the victims of homicides, Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said the investigation has grown.
“My office will continue to press forward investigating this crime in conjunction with the Paulding Police Department. We believe these two cases are related, and we will now focus our investigation as such,” said Landers.
Landers said his investigators have no suspects at this time. The sheriff’s also now unsure if Tracy was responsible for Fischer’s death or if someone killed both of them.
“On the investigative side of things it changes some of the theories involved in Hannah Fischer’s death,” he said. “Right now, we are just trying to compare the facts with the Paulding Police Department case based on the facts of what we know from Tuesday’s discovery of Mr. Tracy.”
Tracy’s criminal history includes charges for drug possession and abduction, according to Paulding County records. There’s been speculation among people in the community that the killings could be drug related. The Sheriff said they will explore that during the investigation.
“So, will narcotics have a direct reflection back to the results of Hannah and Franks’s case? I can’t tell you that. I can just tell you that we know there was some involvement there with Mr. Tracy’s history. If it comes out that way at the end of our investigation that is yet to be determined,” he said.
Landers did say the two deaths were not related to the death of Wilma Schwartz, whose body was found dumped in a western Paulding County lawn this week. The Fort Wayne woman’s car was found days later in Markle.
Still, though, the county is in the grips of three homicides there in a month.
“It’s just a shame. This is a tough part of the job but it’s something we have to do when we are called to do it,” he said “I just ask that the public believe in us and know that we are doing the right thing. We’re following leads that we get and in time we’re going to be able to hold these people accountable. I believe that.”
Landers urged anyone with information on the cases to contact the sheriff’s office at (419) 399-3791. Residents can also leave information via Facebook by searching Facebook/Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, email Landers through the Paulding County Sheriff’s website or leave an anonymous tip via the website by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking on “send us an anonymous tip.”