Ashtabula Sheriff: Human bones found at house of acquaintance of Warren teen


ROAMING SHORES, Ohio (WYTV) – Ashtabula County Sheriff William Johnson confirmed Friday that police found human remains at the house of a man arrested on drug charges in Roaming Shores Thursday. He also confirmed that that man had previously met Alesha Bell of Warren, who has been missing since late July, but did not confirm who the human remains belonged to.

According to Johnson, Police arrested James Brooks, 40, after serving a search warrant and collecting evidence at his home in Roaming Shores, Ohio, in Ashtabula County. Police said that during the search, they found what they later confirmed were human bones.

Brooks is charged with having weapons under disability, tampering with evidence, trafficking in heroin and cocaine and abuse of a corpse, according to a press release from Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci.

Police reported making several undercover drug purchases from Brooks before the raid on his house. At the time of the raid, there were two women, 21 and 23 years old, at Brooks’ house, according to Johnson.

Warren Police had previously alerted the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office that Bell, 18, was missing. Johnson did not comment further on the relationship between Bell and Brooks.

Warren Police Captain Robert Massucci confirmed that police were planning to hold a press conference Friday on the status of their search for Bell, but canceled it because of the developments in Ashtabula County.

Officials said DNA will be collected from Bell’s mother to confirm if the remains are hers. The results won’t be returned for weeks.

Warren Police issued an alert for Bell on Wednesday, July 29, after her mother, Tiffany Knepper, filed a missing person’s report.

According to a description given when police issued the alert, Bell is 5’1″ and weighs 115 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing burgundy and black leggings, a flannel shirt and brown sandals.

Knepper said she last saw her daughter on Southwest Boulevard walking to her uncle’s house about 5 p.m. on July 23.

Warren police have asked anyone with information about Bell’s whereabouts to call the department at 330-841-2512.

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