1998 homicides -
CHRONOLOGYSaturday, 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 discoveryA 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:
* 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
A FAMILY TORN
SUSPECT CALLED `TWISTED' MAN
MAN HAS SEX CASE HISTORY
BODY MAY BE FUGITIVE'S
LYNN TOPP CASE