Police link Sharon chase suspect to kidnapping, death of teen

John Richard Bove, Ashtabula


SHARON, Pa. (WYTV) – Police said that during a search for evidence in the case of a missing Ashtabula teen, they found a strange list the suspect in her kidnapping and death left behind.

Ashtabula County authorities have linked 46-year-old John Richard Bove with the kidnapping and death of 13-year-old Kara Zdanczewski.

According to police records, he had a list of things to do to change his identity and appearance. On the list — “fake glasses, longer hair, make body look fatter, hide tattoos.”

Bove is being held as a fugitive from justice in the Mercer County Jail on $1 million bond, awaiting extradition back to Ohio. He’s charged with kidnapping and grand theft of a motor vehicle in Ohio. In Pennsylvania, he faces charges of felony fleeing and eluding, receiving stolen property, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said the body of a 13-year-old — believed to be Zdanczewski — was found in a wooded area near Sanborn Road in Saybrook Township. Investigators still don’t know where the girl was killed.

Police departments in Ashtabula and Sharon are waiting on a report from the coroner before charging Bove with murder.

In his car, police found a folding knife with a pearl handle and an airsoft gun — which is not a firearm, but uses compressed air and shoots harder than a BB gun. They also found a Walmart receipt in the car.

Investigators collected biological samples from the driver’s seat and the car’s center console.

Police in Sharon shut down part of the Shenango Valley Freeway Thursday night to search for additional evidence in the case. East Connelly Boulevard in Sharon was shut down between Stambaugh and Sharpsville avenues for almost three hours Thursday night.

They also searched an apartment on Stambaugh Avenue in Sharon where Bove spent the night Wednesday.

According to a criminal affidavit filed in Mercer County, a Sharon woman called police to report that Bove had come over and told her that he was out with a friend’s teenage daughter. She said he told her that, “things went south,” and that he shot and killed her.

At the Sharon apartment, police found jeans and sweatpants with suspected blood on them. There was also a plastic bowl with a black dye, which a woman said he wiped all over his body, trying to change his hair and skin color.

Court documents detail more of Bove’s conversation with the woman, saying Bove had the gun he used and showed the woman a semi-automatic pistol. She took pictures of the gun on the nightstand while he slept.

Bove also told the woman that his truck was stuck in the woods and he had to walk, according to the affidavit. Police then learned that a 1996 Toyota Camry had been reported stolen from a neighbor’s home in Ashtabula.

The next day, she called Ashtabula police and told them what she knew. Police immediately called the department in Sharon, warning them to be on the lookout for a stolen vehicle and that the driver was considered armed.

A Sharon Police officer, who spotted the Camry on Thursday, tried to pull it over on Edgewood Road. Bove crossed a freeway before being caught as he was trying to hide on a hillside to the north of East Connelly Boulevard.

Officers eventually arrested Bove near the helicopter pad of Sharon Regional Hospital.

The 13-year-old victim went with Bove, a friend of the girl’s father, according to police. Investigators were called when she didn’t return after leaving with him on Wednesday morning and Bove didn’t answer the mother’s calls.

The Ohio Sex Offender registry shows Bove was convicted of rape in 1989 out of New York state and that the victim was a female he did not know. The record stated that Bove choked the female and hit her. The report did not list an age for the victim.