NEWCOMERSTOWN — Neighbors expressed sorrow and concern Monday afternoon as Newcomerstown Police officers examined a front lawn where a man's body was found in the morning.
Village police were not releasing any information about the incident which resulted in a dead man being discovered as some residents were starting the day. Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell confirmed there had been a murder in the village.
A police SUV and a gray Dodge minivan blocked traffic on Tuscarawas Avenue north of Oak Street. Yellow police tape was strung across the grass between two mobile homes — one gray and one blue — on the east side of the street. Two strands of yellow tape stretched in a V-shape from lawn chairs to the curb.
"The body was right there where those lines are," said Amy Edwards, who lives across the street from the crime scene.
She said she did not know the deceased, or the residents in the properties where police were concentrating their efforts.
"I don't hardly know any of my neighbors," Edwards said. "I keep to myself. I have a back yard and I stay back there."
She said police questioned her between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday.
"I just know that the cops asked me if I heard anything," Edwards said. "I was asleep, so ...."
A little while later, she saw the body being taken away. She could not say whether it was male or female.
"It was in a bag," Edwards said.
While police examined the crime scene shortly before 4 p.m., a man returned to the gray mobile home to a child's shout of "Daddy!" He exchanged casual conversation with a police officer. The resident was apparently free to come and go, although a reporter was prohibited by police from approaching his home and two more to the north, including the blue mobile home.
Theresa Harper said she didn't hear anything unusual in the morning, although she saw the police on the block when she went to pick up her newspaper around 7:45 a.m.
She said another neighbor, farther south on Tuscarawas Avenue, had talked about hearing what they thought were gunshots at 4 a.m. or 4:30 a.m.
Harper said the man in the gray trailer discovered the deceased as he prepared to go to work.
"When he went out to get in his car, he saw the body laying there," said Harper, who lives with two of her sisters.
One sister, Mary Ahle, said the police were on the street by 7:15 a.m.
"It's just scary that it's right in your back door," Harper said.
"A little too close to home," said Ahle.
Neither sister recalled hearing any noise in the morning.
An 80-year-old woman near the crime scene expressed regret that she had not looked outside on Monday morning when she heard the sound of something hitting metal.
"I just didn't want to go outside to look," said the woman, who asked not to be named. "I feel bad that I didn't, now, because maybe they could have got to him sooner."
She said she could have been easily knocked down, as she uses a walker to move around.
"It just makes me sick at my stomach that I didn't see him, somebody didn't get him some help.
"I was afraid to go outside, tell you the truth. Glad I didn't, now. Someone was out there with a gun. I didn't hear any gunshot. Can you believe that?
"It just makes you sick at your stomach to think about it," she said. "You know, that's someone's kid, whether he was good or bad."