Human remains discovered in a fire pit last month have now been determined to be that of an 18-year-old girl who’s been missing since late July.
Ohio teen Alesha Bell went missing at 5 p.m. on July 23 while walking to her uncle’s home, WKBN reported. She had reportedly texted her mother, “Mom, if I make it home, I need you. I’m scared.”
During a drug raid at 40-year-old James Brooks’ residence in August, authorities unexpectedly found human bones in his backyard fire pit. Following this discovery, Brooks was arrested. He’s now facing ten charges including abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, drug trafficking, and weapons violations.
Though Brooks admitted that he was with Alesha Bell on the day she disappeared, the man claimed he had dropped her off prior to her disappearance, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarucci told Wfmj.com.
The suspect also told authorities that he ran an escort service from May of 2014 to May of 2015, but there is no indication that Bell was involved with the business.
Bells’ disappearance isn’t the only one Brooks is believed to be linked to. Missing since June 5th, 22-year old Jasmaine Smith also hasn’t been found since she was seen attending her sister’s high school graduation. According to her mother, Daniell Wilder, her daughter knows Brooks and went missing a month before Bell.
“Yes, she knew him, some of her friends and associates of hers — they know him as well,” said Wilder, who also submitted her DNA when the remains were found.“As a mother I’m just asking if somebody knows something, please contact your local police department.”
Currently, Brooks isn’t being named as a person of interest and is jailed on $700,000 bond as the Ashtabula County Grand Jury looks more closely at his case.
Warren County Police Department