NEW STRAITSVILLE — A New Straitsville family is seeking justice for a family member who lost her life approximately two years ago. The family sat with The Perry County Tribune and recalled the day they received the news that their loved one had died.
On Sept. 18, 2017, Amy Nelson lost her life — allegedly at the hands of another. While many have been quick to speculate that Nelson died of an overdose, this is not the case according to the death certificate. And although no one has been charged in Nelson’s death, the death certificate clearly states it’s a homicide.
Since there is an ongoing investigation into Nelson’s death, the newspaper cannot divulge any information regarding the case. However, repeated phone calls have been made to the Perry County Prosecutor’s Office with no results, no returned phone calls, etc. The Perry County Tribune also reached out to Zane Love of the New Straitsville Police Department with no calls answered.
Due to the numerous attempts by the newspaper and the family members to talk with the prosecutor and law enforcement, and the fact that Nelson lost her life almost two years ago, the family wanted answers and was tired of waiting for someone to return their calls. So, they reached out to State Representative Speaker of the House Larry Householder, who quickly offered one of his aides to talk with the family.
Householder also reached out to the Perry County Prosecutor but to this date, it doesn’t appear that anything came out of the conversation.
Nelson was just 39 years old when her life was taken. The family told the newspaper she was addicted to pain medication due to her failing health and was diagnosed with lupus, and in addition, at the age of 14 she was diagnosed with APLS, anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome.
“We just want justice,” stated one of the family members. “We want the person or persons who are responsible to be held accountable.”
The Perry County Tribune contacted Householder’s office and spoke with Daniel Cech, legislative aide to the Speaker of the House, who said no family should have to endure what the Nelson family is going through.
Cech, who has met with the family on several occasions, said he is just as stumped as the newspaper and many people in the county in regards to the length of time it’s taking for the investigation — to date, the prosecutor’s office has yet to name a suspect, and when family questions the prosecutor it’s the same answer each time — “it’s an ongoing investigation.”
While the family is mourning their loss, they still have no answers, and no resolve as to the murder of their loved one. However, Cech has been helping them with resources and outlets that they may not have pursued as of yet.
“For the first year or so there wasn’t much cooperation coming out of the New Straitsville Police Department,” Cech told The Perry County Tribune. “Some of the individuals that were originally involved (in the investigation) are now retired or resigned from their positions.”
Cech said the Speaker’s office got involved when the family contacted them because they weren’t getting anywhere with the local law enforcement. He reiterated that the Speaker along with the former legislative aide reached out to law enforcement and offered help in the investigation.
“They had offered sort of like the BCI does with an independent investigation,” he remarked. “But I don’t think at that point, which was about a year ago, that that resulted in anything. They remained adamant that they didn’t want any outside organization coming in and that they had everything under control. And that doesn’t seem to be the case from my perspective.”
Cech is very adamant in his quest to get answers for the family and have this case resolved so the family can have some sort of closure and justice for Amy.
“The family needs closure, this has been going on now for almost two years,” Cech said. “It’s time for this case to be resolved. The family has gone through enough.”
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender, and has become a growing problem throughout the country.
Known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, batter, family violence, dating abuse and intimate partner violence, it can be defined as a pattern of controlling behaviors in any relationship that is used by one partner to establish power over the other.
Ohio domestic violence statistics show:
• In 2010, there were 70,717 calls for domestic violence incidents.
• In 2013 in Ohio, there were 38 domestic violence fatalities.
• On one day in September 2014, 943 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters in Ohio; 896 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, on a single day in September 2014.
National statistics show:
• On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. This equates to more than 10 million women and men per year.
• One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence; intimate partner contact sexual violence; and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.
• One in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
• On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
• The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.
• A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20 percent of victims were not the intimate partners themselves.
• Seventy-two percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94 percent of the victims of these murder-suicides are female.
• Eighty-five percent of domestic violence victims are women; 15 percent are male.
While the statistics are staggering and the number of domestic violence incidents is on the rise, the Nelson family is doing their part for domestic violence awareness. On Aug. 31, the family is hosting the second annual trail ride, poker run and auction in New Straitsville. All proceeds from the event will benefit Amy’s Gift of Hope and local domestic violence shelters in loving memory of Amy Jo Nelson.
Last year’s event resulted in $16,000 donated to The Lighthouse and My Sister’s Place in memory of Amy Jo Nelson.
The event will be held at Begley’s ATV Campground, 214 E. Main St., New Straitsville and Tecumseh Trails, 8621 state Route 155 SE, Hemlock. Signup is from 8 to 10 a.m. at either location. The ride will begin at 10 a.m. There will an awards ceremony and dinner at 3 p.m.; followed by a live auction at 4 p.m., and a Chinese auction.
For information on the ride contact Begley’s at 740-394-2539; all other information contact 740-343-3670.
The family is seeking “justice for Amy” and wants this case resolved as soon as possible. They have been living with the unknown for almost two years, and are anxious to see results from the long, drawn-out investigation. Anyone with information on this homicide should contact the Perry County Prosecutor’s Office or local law enforcement.
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Debra Tobin is also the editor of The Logan Daily News.