Dayton Daily News Library

1998 homicides -
The abduction of Lynn Topp

  On Feb. 21, 1998 Lynn Topp, 19, disappeared while jogging near her Darke County home.
  Two weeks later her body was found buried six feet deep on a farm about 15 miles from her home.
  The owner of the farm, Timothy K. Rodeheffer, 43, could not be found and police launched a fugitive manhunt. But he would later be found dead not far, having apparently shot himself while hiding in a neighbor's barn.

Police excavate on Rodeheffer's property March 6 and find Lynn Topp's body.
DDN PHOTO - TY GREENLEES

CHRONOLOGY

Saturday, Feb. 21: Lynn Topp, 19, leaves her home around 8 a.m. to go jogging. She is last seen shortly after she left herhome, 13199 U.S.127.
Sunday, Feb. 22: Darke County sheriff's officials, along with Topp's friends and family, conduct their first bigcommunity search for the teen.
Wednesday, Feb. 25: A trained search dog from Portland, Ore., comes to Darke County to search for Topp. The dog wasrecommended by missing children's groups.
Saturday, Feb. 28: Darke County officials announce an increase in the reward fund for information about Topp from$10,000 to $75,000.
Sunday, March 1: A community prayer vigil for Topp is held at North Star's St. Louis Catholic Church.
Monday, March 2: The search for information goes high-tech with the creation of an Internet web page holdinginformation on the case.
Friday, March 6: A young woman's body is found on a farm in Rosehill in Darke County.
Saturday, March 21: A farmer, noticing an odor in his barn, finds a decomposing body which police later say is likely Rodeheffer. Investigators say it appears the man crawled in between bales of hay and then shot himself in the head.

Tip from relative leads to discovery

  A break in the case came when Rodeheffer's nephew and neighbor James Allen told investigators he saw Rodeheffer burying something on his property on Feb. 21, the day Topp,was reported missing. Allen said he watched as his uncle drove a small backhoefrom the hog house to a gravel pit at the edge of the farm's dormant cornfield. Rodehefferworked at digging the hole until after dark, Allen said.
  At first Allen thought Rodeheffer was burying a pile of old farm apparatus, but on March 3,when officers and a dog came to the farm, Allen thought about what he'd seen.
  "I told Todd (Topp's brother) to get hold of the sheriff; I thought I had some information theycould use."
  Allen met with investigators and talked about the excavation and that he believed they werelooking at the wrong automobile parked on the farm. "I told them that's not the car you'relooking for. "
  Allen, 38, said he believed the young woman was abducted in a 1989 Buick Skylark - the carRodeheffer drove regularly.
  Police recovered that car last week at an Indiana junk yard. It had been recently gutted in a fire. A1982 Ford Fairmont used by the family was also recovered.

Selected Dayton Daily News stories:

MISSING WOMAN
SEARCH INTENSIFIES
* Hundreds turn out to help search for the runner last seen Saturdayalong U.S. 127.
Published: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 Page: 1A
By Jim Bebbington and Lou Grieco DAYTON DAILY NEWS

SEEKING CLUES IN DISAPPEARANCE
CASE LOOKS LIKE ABDUCTION
* Detectives ask questions and searchers continue to look throughoutnorthern Darke County, to no avail.
Published: Wednesday, February 25, 1998 Page: 1B
By Jim Bebbington Dayton Daily News

A FAMILY TORN
DISCOVERY OF BODY TURNS FEAR INTO RAGE
* `I hope he gets the death penalty,' said the victim's brother
Published: Sunday, March 8, 1998 Page: 1A
By Jim Bebbington DAYTON DAILY NEWS

  

SUSPECT CALLED `TWISTED' MAN
Tipster recalls gunfight
Published: Monday, March 9, 1998 Page: 1A
By Cathy Mong Dayton Daily News

MAN HAS SEX CASE HISTORY
Topp case suspect previously target of rape allegations
Published: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 Page: 1B
By Jim Bebbington Dayton Daily News

BODY MAY BE FUGITIVE'S
SOUGHT IN SLAYING OF JOGGER
Published: Sunday, March 22, 1998 Page: 1A
By James Cummings and Jim Bebbington DAYTON DAILY NEWS

LYNN TOPP CASE
SUSPECT: BOOZE IS TO BLAME
Published: Sunday, March 22, 1998 Page: 1A
By Jim Bebbington DAYTON DAILY NEWS

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File Created: 3-7-1998
Prepared by: Dayton Daily News Library staff
Sources: DDN reports