Thursday, August 12, 1999

Still no clues in case of body found on farmland




BY TOM McCANN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Investigators are scraping for clues to why a Middletown man's body was dumped in a farmer's field near New Vienna, nearly 40 miles from his home.

        The Clinton County Sheriff's Department and Middletown police have no suspects or leads. But they are investigating whether the death of 37-year-old Tim Orona was drug-related, said Col. Ralph Fizer Jr., chief deputy of the sheriff's department.

        A coroner's report Tuesday confirmed that Mr. Orona was shot in the lower back at close range with a shotgun, possibly a .410-gauge. The bullet fired upward into his chest, suggesting he may have been lying face down when he was shot, he said.

        A farmer found Mr. Orona's body Aug. 2 in a field off Ohio 73. He had been missing since July 4. Detectives could not find any friends or family that brought Mr. Orona to Clinton County.

        “I don't think we will find a local connection. With the lack of blood at the crime scene, it looks like he was killed someplace else and dumped here.” said Col. Fizer, who is waiting for a crime lab analysis to be sure of that.

        Forensic tests determined that Mr. Orona had been killed two or three weeks before he was found.

        In 1989, Mr. Orona was convicted of aggravated cocaine trafficking and sentenced to drug treatment and five years' probation by the Butler County Common Pleas Court. Middletown police arrested him in 1993 for marijuana possession.

        Mr. Orona's mother reported his disappearance to Middletown police July 12 and said she had not seen him since July 4. Mr. Orona had shared an apartment with his mother in the 1300 block of Columbia Avenue in Middletown. His family did not know where he was going when they last saw him.

       



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