BRYAN, OH (WTOL) - Almost exactly two years ago, a 91-year-old woman was the victim of a brutal homicide and police in the small city of Bryan have yet to make any arrests. It was the city of Bryan's first homicide in more than 60 years.
Jonathan Walsh has what is new in the investigation and an exclusive interview with the family members of Grace Kennedy.
Grace Kennedy's son Bob cannot even set foot in Bryan because the pain is simply too great. He and his wife want to know what happened to Grace, and they also have questions about how the police handled the case.
"I don't have any answers. I'd really like some answers," said Bob Kennedy, Grace Kennedy's son.
"The truth we seek at this point, is what happened?" wonders Kathy Kennedy, Bob's wife. "What happened in the investigation? What happened to her?"
The murder occurred on December 23, 2009. Grace Kennedy was found inside her home, her head badly beaten.
In the beginning, Bryan Police Chief Jeff Arnold said part of the problem with the investigation was how long it was taking to get test results back on evidence collected.
But Bob and Kathy said they think additional evidence was left behind after investigators left and Grace's family went through the house, things like a lamp shade with blood on it and a blood soaked T-shirt.
Bob and Kathy question how the police acted that night when they first went into Grace's home back in 2009.
"The people in the city of Bryan do not know the truth of who contacted the police, who actually followed the police into the house," Said Kathy. "We have concerns about a compromise in the investigation."
The Kennedys say the Bryan Police Department has not contacted them in the past year with details about the steps investigators are taking.
"If they're actively doing something, they're not informing me or my family," said Bob.
On numerous occasions WTOL asked for an on-camera interview with Police Chief Jeff Arnold. He has yet to grant us that interview. He did release a brief statement, but that certainly doesn't allow us to ask questions about how the investigation was handled and whether the communication between family members and police had been appropriate.
"I'm angry. I'm very angry at the city of Bryan," said Kathy.
Police Chief Arnold's statement says - in part- the Ohio Attorney General's crime experts reviewed the case, and then suggested the department send information to the FBI. He said his department is in the process of sending all the case files to the FBI.
The FBI told WTOL 11 news the details of Grace Kennedy's case have been sent to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Virginia.
FBI investigators are comparing that information with other serious crimes around the country to see if there are any similarities to unsolved murders.
The Kennedys were unaware of anything in the statement.
"I would think that this is something that if you had any level of respect for us you would say, Bob, I want you to know we're moving forward with this," said Bob.
However, legal expert attorney Jerry Philips says police don't have to talk to the victim's family members.
"They are the main focus of the people that the police want to help, but in doing that job they don't want to jeopardize the investigation by giving information out," said Jerry Phillips. "That should otherwise remain private. So it's sort of a balancing act."
Jonathan asked Bryan Mayor Doug Johnson if he thought the case had been handled correctly.
Johnson said he knows the family wants answers, so does his community. But he says the police have to make sure they're going down the right path. He tells us he feels investigators have done their job correctly and he says he will stay in touch with the department.
"I think the overall feeling of the people is that they are very concerned - they want it solved," said Johnson. "It's something that I would like to be solved and I'm hoping that anyone who knows anything can still call CrimeStopper."
Bob and Kathy continue to miss Grace and wonder if they'll ever get answers. There is an $8,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Bob, Kathy and the city of Bryan are hoping that will be enough to solve this disturbing mystery.
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