UPDATE: 2 charged in the Hillsdale homicide

HILLSDALE, Mich. (WLNS) — The Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office now has two people behind bars just one week after starting the investigation into who killed 37-year-old Jeremy Barron.

Monday afternoon, 6 News got its first look at the people accused of killing and hiding the man from Hillsdale County.

It was a revealing day in Hillsdale County Court, as Jay Clark and Ashley Hoath were arraigned.

40-year-old Clark from Bryan, Ohio, is charged with fatally shooting Barron back in February.

He’s accused of hiding Barron’s body, then moving it to a new location in rural Hillsdale County, where the body was found earlier this month.

Hoath is a 27-year-old from Hillsdale who’s believed to be Clark’s girlfriend.

She has been charged with assisting him and lying to police.

The Hillsdale County Sheriff say investigators worked hard following leads to make these arrests.

“We firmly believe that these two individuals are fully responsible for the murder of Jeremy Barron and there is no additional threat to our community at this time,” said Sheriff Timothy Clark.

Authorities say Barron knew the suspects, but it’s too early to talk about what could have led to him being shot multiple times.

“I have to make sure if this case goes to trial, things are handled fairly and that I have an unbiased jury. Which means that things like motive are going to have to come out the appropriate time,” said Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Megan Stiverson.

Investigators are still trying to pinpoint where Barron was killed and when his body was moved.

“This investigation continues as officers glean more information. It has not stopped from the very beginning, nor does it stop today,” Sheriff Parker said.

Clark was arrested during a traffic stop in Ohio on Sunday.

He was arraigned on open murder, carrying away/disposing of a corpse, felon in possession of a firearm, felony firearm, concealing the death of an individual, possession of methamphetamine, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Clark was denied bond on the charges relating to Barron’s death, but was given a $100,000 bond with 10 percent allowed on the meth and concealed weapon charges.

Hoath was arrested Sunday while being interviewed at the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office.

She was arraigned on charges of accessory after the fact of a felony-open murder, and one count of lying to a police officer.

Hoath was given a $50,000 bond with 10 percent allowed.

The suspects are due back in court next week for a hearing.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE (4/10):

Jay Clark of Bryan, Ohio was charged with multiple felonies including open murder, felony firearm, moving and concealing a dead body and possession of meth. He is currently being held on a 100k bond.

Ashley Hoath is accused of helping Clark with murder and she was charged with accessory to felony and lying to a police officer. She is being held on a 50k bond.

11111111 UPDATE: 2 charged in the Hillsdale homicide

UPDATE(4/9):

Two people have been arrested in connection with the homicide of Jeremy Barron. Barron was found dead on April 2 in Camden Twp. which is located within Hillsdale County.

Among the two people arrested is one man and one woman. They are both being held at the Hillsdale County Jail.

The man is facing one count of homicide-open murder. The female is facing one count of accessory after the fact to homicide-open murder and one count of lying to the police in a criminal investigation.

Both of their identities are being withheld at this time while they await formal arraignment charges. Sheriff’s officials say that’s expected to happen this week.

Stay with 6 News for any new details on this story. We’ll update you with new information as we get it.

UPDATE (6:00PM):

A murder investigation in Hillsdale County has taken an unusual twist. The murder victim has been revealed to be a suspect in a sexual assault case, and had a warrant out for his arrest when his body was found.

The case involving 37-year-old Jeremy Barron was a high priority for the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office.

Barron was charged with one count of third degree criminal sexual conduct.

Court records indicate the incident involved a minor, and took place in June 2015.

“We were set for what’s called a preliminary exam. And Mr. Barron did not appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rodney Hassinger,

That was nearly two months ago.

Barron wasn’t seen by authorities until this past weekend when he was found shot to death in rural Hillsdale County.

“We’re obviously saddened anytime someone gets killed. But in a way, it wasn’t necessarily a shock,” Hassinger said. “He ran with some nefarious people, and sometimes bad things happen.”

Hassinger says without a defendant the sexual assault case is closed.

“We still offer the victim counseling, anything we can do to help the victim,” Hassinger said.

Kimberly Burger was Barron’s court appointed attorney in the sexual assault case.

Burger says her client maintained his innocence throughout the case.

In fact, Barron was willing to take a lie detector test prior to his preliminary exam in February.

Burger says it never happened because he disappeared.

The Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating Barron’s murder but does not want to comment further at this time.

“The sheriff’s department is working incredibly hard on the case and we are actively involved with that,” Hassinger said.

If you have any information that can help in the murder case you’re asked to call the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office at 517-437-7317.

PREVIOUS STORY:

Jeremy Alan Barron, the victim in a Hillsdale County homicide, had an active warrant for failure to appear in court.

The 37-year-old was charged with 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct for a crime police and prosecutors say he committed on June 1, 2015. The case had been delayed due to a polygraph test to be given.

More details tonight at 6 News at 6.

ORIGINAL STORY:

HILLSDALE, Mich. (WLNS) — Investigators in Hillsdale County are working to learn more on the mystery surrounding a man who was found shot to death in the woods.

While authorities are still working to confirm the victim’s identity, they believe the circumstances surrounding the death are suspicious and they’re investigating it as a homicide.

The Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office says the man’s body was found Sunday afternoon off Dimmers Road in Camden Township.

Deputies say Amish children were riding horses through a wooded area and made the discovery.

“The father went down to the scene to confirm what the children were telling him and then he got a hold of another subject who made the phone call to 911,” said Sheriff Timothy Parker.

Authorities found the dead body of a white male in his mid to late 30s.

The body was taken to Toledo for an autopsy.

“The medical examiner there did rule that the death was from gunshot wounds,” Parker said.

The sheriff says authorities have a good idea of who this man is based on body marks and previous contacts with law enforcement

They’re waiting on DNA confirmation before releasing his name.

“We will have that analyzed today. As a matter of fact, this morning it was in the hands of Michigan State Police. Their crime lab is performing the analysis,” Parker said.

Meanwhile, investigators are working to determine how the man’s body ended up in such a rural area.

Right now they’re investigating this as a homicide and looking for leads.

“We will discover who has committed this crime. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces and the puzzle parts together,” Parker said.

If you have any information that can help investigators, contact the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office at 517-437-7317.

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