Saturday, July 15, 2000

Police seek motive in slaying


No gun found; Edgewood neighbors mourn Delta Air Lines pilot

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        EDGEWOOD — As police search for a motive for Edgewood's first homicide in 18 years, neighbors of the slain Delta Air Lines pilot mourned the loss of a friend they described as an easy-going, personable, family man.

        At about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the body of Delta Air Lines pilot Stephen Craven was found in the basement of his home, authorities said. Preliminary autopsy results showed he died of multiple gunshot wounds to his head. There were no signs of forced entry, and police haven't been able to determine whether anything was taken.

        Edgewood Police Chief Steve Vollmar said Friday that authorities have not found the weapon used, and he wouldn't say whether anyone other than the family had been in the Craven home the day of the killing.

Close-knit neighborhood
        “We're trying to piece together from the physical evidence exactly how (Mr. Craven) died, and whether there was a struggle,” said Capt. Tony Kramer, who is in charge of the Kenton County Police investigative bureau.

        He said authorities don't know whether Mr. Craven knew his attacker. “We haven't excluded anyone as a suspect at this point,” he said. “All avenues are being looked at.”

        Police are asking anyone who saw anything unusual in the Carimel Ridge cul-de-sac to contact them. Neighbors said the street of 12 homes — nine of which are occupied by their original owners for nearly 40 years — is a close-knit community.

        “It's very shocking, and it upset everyone,” said Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn, who lives up the street from the Cravens. “Everyone, of course, feels for the family, and the children.”

Keeping an eye on things
        Neighbors said they often saw the 10-year Delta pilot walking his young sons to the school bus. They tell of how he regularly cut an elderly neighbor's grass and served as an unofficial one-man neighborhood watch because his work often meant he was home during the day.

        “He always seemed to be around to keep an eye on things for the neighbors if you weren't there,” said Barry Brake, who grew up on Carimel Ridge.

        “It just kind of makes you ill that someone would do something bad to a nice person like him,” said Vernon Boyce.

        After authorities finished moving evidence from the Cravens' home early Friday, members of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church in Boone County helped clean it. Besides the church, the Cravens were members of a Northern Kentucky YMCA.

        Neighbors said Mr. Craven's death was the latest in a series of tragedies to occur at the blond-brick home at the end of their wooded cul-de-sac.

Tales of "jinxed' house
        Years ago, a boy who lived in the house was struck and killed by a car on Dudley Road, Mr. Korzenborn said.

        Neighbors said the next family that moved in had a son whose eye was poked out in an accident, and yet another family there had a baby die of sudden infant death syndrome.

        “It's almost like that house is jinxed,” said neighbor Mary Hoffmeister.

        Mr. Craven's wife, Adelle, told police she last saw her husband alive between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, when she left to go shopping with their two sons. That afternoon, Mr. Craven was off duty, but the 38-year-old pilot was planning to fly to New York on a personal trip, police and neighbors said.

        When Mrs. Craven returned home at about 8:30 p.m., she saw the front door open and thought the house was being burglarized, and called police.


        The case shares some similarities with last month's unsolved slaying of George Gibson, a Procter & Gamble executive who was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in his West Chester home.

        However, Capt. Kramer said Northern Kentucky police see no connection between the two cases. He added they have not talked to Union Township police about the earlier homicide.

        Anyone with information can call Kenton County Police at 356-3191, or 356-INFO (4636).

       



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