More questions after identifying man in Perry Township pond


Many questions remain surrounding death of Kentucky man, who fled authorities in Bluegrass State

By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



LIMA — The Allen County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the man whose body was found in a Perry Township pond earlier this week, but many questions remain surrounding the man’s activities and whereabouts leading up to his demise.

Authorities on Friday identified Johnnie Hamm, 32, whose body was found shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday in a pond at 3399 Greely Chapel Road. His last known city of residence was Morehead, Ky.

Authorities have not yet determined why Hamm was in the Lima area. Foul play is not believed to have played a part in the man’s death, authorities said, but the official cause of death will not be known until an autopsy report is released.

Allen County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the pond Tuesday evening and were met by Perry Township Fire Department officials, who said an unidentified male was floating alongside the bank of a pond on the property. Evidence indicated the individual had been in the pond for a “significant amount of time,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Two Kentucky driver’s licenses were found in the pocket of the deceased, one belonging to Hamm and the other issued to a Jeffery Howard. A subsequent investigation showed the body found in the pond had multiple tattoos, which were used to provide the identification as Hamm. Detectives subsequently learned Hamm had cut off an ankle monitor and had an active nationwide warrant from the State of Kentucky Parole Authority.

Throughout their investigation, detectives also learned the Allen County Sheriff’s Office responded on March 27 to an abandoned motor vehicle approximately one mile from the location of the pond on Greely Chapel Road. A vehicle with a Kentucky license plate, registered to Brittany and Jason Cook, was located stuck in mud alongside the road and was abandoned. Multiple beer cans and other paraphernalia were found at the scene. The vehicle was impounded.

During a search of the vehicle, officers located a piece of paper with a phone number and the name “Andrea” written on it. Deputies called the number, and a woman said her fiance had borrowed the car from their friend, Jason Cook, but they had since returned it. She said she did not know why her name and number were still in the vehicle. She said “Jason” was working at the Husky refinery in Lima.

While deputies continued to search for “Jason,” Cook contacted authorities and said he had never been to Lima and that he had sold the vehicle to a couple he knew as Andrea Wallace and Jeff Thompson. The man said he believed Andrea and Jeff had been in Lima for a few weeks, but he had been unable to contact them. He said he had been attempting to reach Wallace and Thompson because they failed to pay him for the vehicle.

When deputies attempted to re-contact “Andrea” following the call from Jason, her phone was disconnected. Detectives since learned that the phone for “Andrea” is no longer in service, and at this point they have been unable to locate her.

A report released Friday by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office noted a hypodermic syringe and four baggies containing an unknown substance were found near Hamm’s body when it was discovered. During the autopsy of Hamm’s body, an additional plastic baggy was removed from his anal canal, which authorities say suggests an attempt to conceal narcotics from law enforcement.

The case remains under investigation, authorities said.

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Many questions remain surrounding death of Kentucky man, who fled authorities in Bluegrass State

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

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