Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Tenant charged in death of woman




BY KRISTINA GOETZ and JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — Police feared the worst had happened to Sandra Kay Roberts. And Tuesday, those fears were confirmed.

        Police found the body of Ms. Roberts, 59, of Florence, on a ridge at the end of Timberline Road, off U.S. 42 in Gallatin County, about 4:30 p.m., said Florence Police Detective Buddy Schwabe.

        Police charged a tenant of Ms. Roberts, Shawn William Ernst, 28, with her death.

        Detective Schwabe said authorities questioned Mr. Ernst for hours Tuesday afternoon, and he admitted the two had argued.

        “He says she collapsed and died in front of him,” Mr. Schwabe said. “He got scared and didn't know what to do and took her to Timberline.”

        The detective declined to discuss the condition of the body at the request of the family.

        Mr. Ernst is in Boone County Jail charged with murder. He will be arraigned today in Boone District Court.

        Authorities became worried after evidence showed that Ms. Roberts left her Kelly Drive home in a rush Monday.

        She had left her false teeth behind and her bed unmade.

        Later, her red Chrysler was found in the parking lot at St. Elizabeth South Hospital in Edgewood. Her purse was found inside the hospital in a trash can, along with the purse of a sister Ms. Roberts went to visit in the hospital Sunday night.

        Police said late Tuesday they think Mr. Ernst drove the car there.

        Ms. Roberts and the tenant argued over the weekend, family members told police. She was angry about some long-distance telephone calls he made and wanted him to move out, Sgt. Bruce Graham said.

       



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