Dayton Memories > Murders, Suicides, Mayhem and Crimes.
Murders, Suicides, Mayhem and Crimes.
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278 posts
Oct 08, 2009
6:12 AM
riverdale... done some research on the memorial hall thing and cant seem to find too much information for some reason. thanks a bunch for all of your help and research on my questions. i wont be around too much after today. i will check back in from time to time.
i love this blog and the entire site but not many people have the time to blog on here i guess. i feel like iam taking over the board sometimes with what little bit i post every evening. steve, marc, rfk, newsnot, pie8 and all the rest of you die hard has been a lot of fun. keep blogging and supporting the site it's the best... thanks.

Last Edited by on Oct 08, 2009 6:15 AM
426 posts
Oct 08, 2009
12:28 PM
dquartz: Yeah, I hear you, I commented briefly on the same thing the other day. some days I come on here and my name is almost all I see. sorry to see you leave us, I am going to be scaling way back myself. sorry I couldnt find more info for you on the Memorial hall thing, Curt mentioned that he is involved with some type of Haunted house tours and I am sure he may have more information if he see's your post, he usually keeps a pretty close eye on the threads.
250 posts
Oct 12, 2009
10:48 PM
Wasn't there some TV show about hauntings at the air force base?
Curt Dalton
205 posts
Oct 13, 2009
7:55 AM
Hi guys,
I have tried to find the story on the janitor but haven't had any luck. The legend is that the janitor fell into the orchestra pit and laid there for quite a while before dying. On some days people hear a voice saying "Help me. Won't you please help me." If I ever get the name I will post it here.
49 posts
Dec 14, 2009
6:44 AM
The owner of Varsity Lanes who was killed, allegedly in the same spot as his father was years before, was Harry Zavakos. I don't remember if the case was ever solved.
2 posts
Dec 15, 2009
6:38 AM
I remember reading a book called, "The Yellow Volkswagon". It was a true story. The girl was abducted in Kettering from a store on Wilmington Pike and they found her bug @ Woodman Park Apartments. I can't remember to much more about the story. I will have to go the the library & see if I can get my hands on it.
2 posts
Dec 18, 2009
11:43 AM
Regarding the death of the owner of Varsity Lanes.

George was killed in front of his home on Rockwood Ave in 1947 at approximately 1 am (if memory serves me correctly) after closing the bowling alley.

Harry was killed in front of his home on Rockwood Ave in 1977 at approximately 1 am (again, if memory serves me correctly) after closing the bowling alley.

I don't think the 2 murders were connected even though Harry had been warned he would be killed the same was as his father was. Family lore has it that George was killed over black-market sugar, possibly owed someone in Chicago money. Harry I'm not sure about but I'm told it was over an affair he was having.

Pretty weird if you ask me. I have seen somewhere on the internet that the killer of one of the 2 was found.

Laura Zavakos Wood
3 posts
Dec 18, 2009
11:44 AM
What about the girl in the volks-wagen floor in the parking lot of Ontario on Wilmington Pike, i think it was sometime in the mid-late 60's
25 posts
Dec 19, 2009
6:59 AM
This is about the Lester Emoff murder. I worked for him at the Salem Avenue store in the fall of 74 while I was in high school. I remember not being surprised when he was kidnapped and killed by a former employee. But what did surprise me was the people saying how nice a man he was and how he was such a good citizen. The Lester Emoff I worked for was a short-tempered, nasty man. I couldn't quit fast enough. His son Bob was a nice person though and treated his employees and customers well. But that doesn't justify what was done to him. I heard that they took him to a field immediately after kidnapping him and made him kneel and plead for his life and then they shot him dead. Then they demanded the ransom. So he was dead from the beginning.
83 posts
Dec 19, 2009
9:10 AM
lauraz: There is a good discussion about the girl on the volkswagon floor somewhere in all the posts on this site. Maybe someone can remember where it is on the site.
103 posts
Jan 05, 2010
12:41 PM

The book was "The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor" by William Arthur Clark. I think it's out of print, but I bet you can find it on eBay. lauraz is correct-it happened at the Ontario Store in Kettering on Wilmington Pike. As I remember, the case took several strange twists even involving a so-called psychic to try and track down the killer. The girl's body was discovered by a lot boy collecting shopping carts who noticed the VW sitting for several days in the same spot on the lot.
6 posts
Jan 05, 2010
4:44 PM
A friend of mine found his grandfather who committed suicide by hanging himself in his attic. My friend found him there at his house on Wayne Ave back in the 1980's. I can't imagine how awful that would have been.
Peggy Gilbert
17 posts
Jan 05, 2010
6:26 PM
The girl on the volkswaon floor, her body was found on June 14, 1968. It was on the front page the morning my daughter was born. I have a paperback copy of the book somewhere. I'm sure she was a substitute teacher and lived at the woodman park apartments. The creep who did it managed to inject himself into the investigation i think that is how they caught him. I believe he also was the one who killed the little 12 year old girl named Duchnowski. People saw her running naked just off Rt. 35 and no-one stopped to help her it was a horrible shame. I later worked with her mother at DSH.
2 posts
Mar 12, 2010
11:59 AM
Anyone remember the Engels Bar robbery/murders?

Or the employee of the Museum of Natural History, Paula Payne, found murdered in the wooded area in 1977?

Last Edited by on Mar 12, 2010 11:59 AM
11 posts
Mar 15, 2010
10:55 PM
I vaguely remember the story of the body (of Judy Kanter?) found at the old Plantation Country Club location on Salem Avenue (in the mid-70's). Dayton Daily News ran a story on the anniversary a while back (in June 2006?), indicating that the cold case was being reopened by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, but I never saw anything else about the story.
Riverdale Ghost
25 posts
Apr 11, 2010
4:14 PM
Okay, figure this one:

And, first thanks to lauraz for the details on the Zavakos murders. That's about how I remember, too. I briefly knew some people who lived behind their house (the people lived on Belmont Park North) at about the time Harry was killed.

Gossip had it that at least one murder had something to do with the Greek Civil War, but it wasn't explained how that figured into the story.

Now here's a thing to explain, if there is an explanation:

The black police officer -- the name was something like Brame -- who was more recently killed on Cherry Drive while visiting his kids, if memory serves me correctly, lived in the same block as the Zavakos' house. Seems like the murder of that cop has never been solved, either.

And, a girl was killed on Neal Avenue while using the telephone at the alley behind that stretch of Rockwood Avenue. This one may have been solved.

For those unfamiliar with the area, the street is one of those little streets that goes from nowhere to nowhere.

Honest Communications Is The Foundation of Civilizations.
2 posts
Apr 12, 2010
11:46 PM
Re:Girl on the volkswagon floor,Her name was Barbara Ann Butler,worked for mad rivers schools,I believe,Female room mate called Kettering Police with discription of car,but registration was from prior year,lic didnt match when Ptl Wilber Stewart was disp to Ontario site about 12:00 am,He looked in car,didnt see her as she was covered up,Room mate found her next day, Perp was Jimmy Wayne Howard,known to police for attempted abduction of Super, of Kettering schools Chester Roush's Daughter,previous year,she could not clearly I.D. so he was let go,Jimmy was questioned on Barbara's case but has alibi, was caught for rape and stranglation death of Regina Duchnowski,12 yr old girl who lived on Farmside st in Kettering,Found in wooded area near what is now Ankenney J.H.,Tim Hart who lived on same street,and went to school with me,was home sick that day and witnessed Regina getting in Jimmys car,and rememberd most of lic plate number and informed KPD.Police captured Jimmy on rt 35 close to Xenia.. During interigation,Jimmy would give evidence to both crimes,getting confused,info only killer would know.His lawyer plea bargained that he would pleaed guilty to Regina's killing,if not prosicuted for Barara's murder..These facts are correct as my father was Det with KPD,and I read deposition of interrigation of Jimmy after trial
11 posts
Jul 13, 2010
10:09 AM
Around '67 bartender and co-owner "Matt" was shot and killed inside the bar on E. 3rd st. The bar was Mary's Bandbox. Mary was Matt's wife. I remember looking through the front window while the bar was closed down for a period after the shooting.
5 posts
Jul 14, 2010
2:06 PM
RR and corvette,
When I was a kid we lived nextdoor to the Zavakas's. In Beavercreek, Barberry Blvd. I remeber sitting on the porch snapping beans and listining to the grown ups talk. He was relation to the bowling alley Zavakas's (how close I'm not sure)Time frame was 75 or 76.
Anyway, Talk was that the bowling alley was a front for the money made on the black market durring WW2.
Maybe some dealings with "The Family" I don't know maybe this is old news to you guys but then again maybe it make another connection too.
8 posts
Jul 20, 2010
7:03 PM
I have the book The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor, about a young school teacher named Barbara Butler who was murderd and found in her volkswagen in the Ontario parking lot June 12, 1968.She lived in the Woodman Park Apartments. Dale Huffman was a reporter working on the case at the Dayton Daily News. Anyone remember this one or have the book? I wrote this after I saw the other post.

Last Edited by on Jul 20, 2010 7:14 PM
9 posts
Jul 20, 2010
7:15 PM
I worked for some Zavakas's. They were Greek resturant owners. Wonder if they were realatives?
2 posts
Jul 26, 2010
10:23 AM
Does anyone remember "The Girl on the Volkswagon Floor"? A young woman was kidnapped at the Ontario's on Dorothy Lane in the early late '60s I think. She was then murdered. The young man who did it, also kidnapped and murdered a childhood friend of mine, her name was Regina. Age has lost the last name, I would have to find the book and look it up.

The father of one of my best friend's from HS was an FBI agent and worked the Lester Emoff kidnapping case.

Maybe this is why my favorite genre to read is True Crime!
3 posts
Jul 26, 2010
10:27 AM
Monicat71, I just saw your post. I no longer had the book but I read it. If you read towards the back, they will mention Regina, but i'm not sure if they mention her by name.

I was years older before I found out the guy also murdered her. We were 8 or 9 at the time and my folks kept the newspapers from me. We had moved away from that neighborhood and I lost touch with her. What is so tragic is that a fellow neighbor refused to let the little girl in after school so she was walking around when the killer picked her up. She knew him vaguely from her older sister. I sometimes wonder if that woman can sleep at night......
7 posts
Jul 26, 2010
1:52 PM
I just remebered that Billy Milligan was here in Dayton. At the State Hospiltal.
He was the first documented case of Multipul Personality Disorder. I not sure if he killed here or not but he was a bad one
6 posts
Aug 15, 2010
8:22 PM
I can remember my father and grandmother talking about someone that was killed at Smales Bakery on Xenia Ave. My grandmother lived next door and they told of someone killing the other, possibly with a baseball bat for money. Does anyone know what Im talking about?
7 posts
Aug 15, 2010
8:25 PM
dquartz- The story about the janitor at Memorial Hall and the hauntings can be found in a series of books I have read called Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard.
442 posts
Aug 16, 2010
3:01 AM
Check out the thread titled "a sad memory" for more information on The Girl on the Volkswagon Floor/Barbara Butler. The entire thread is about this story.
461 posts
Aug 18, 2010
4:26 AM
GOOD TOPIC, Hopefully someone will pick it up and we can talk it through or research it until it is solved.
I remember something about a robbery/killing at the Band Box during that era (my prime era in Dayton) I can't remember much about the details. That’s not far away from the area where Lillian Collins was seen alive for the last time in 87. Last time I heard the Band Box was still there but it was called Linda's Band Box and it started to have a reputation for a lot of problems. It’s a shame because I remember it as being a neighborhood hangout, not a rough dive.
462 posts
Aug 18, 2010
4:48 AM
Do you have a time frame on the killing at Smales Bakery? Actually I’m a bit surprised that our ol buddy newsnot hasn’t enlightened us on this one, he’s usually all over stuff from that part of Town. I think maybe he hasn’t seen the post. And thanks much for the info on Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard.
12 posts
Aug 20, 2010
7:35 PM
Id like to say the 80s?
474 posts
Aug 20, 2010
8:09 PM
Ok, That would explain why I never knew anything about it. Let me do some more research and see what I can come up with. for some odd reason, I was thinking this was something that occured during or before my era. Hopefully someone else will be able to chime in here with additional information. Thanks for the update.
38 posts
Aug 21, 2010
7:34 AM
Billy56, a most informative and interesting post concerning Jimmy Wayne Howard. I just looked him up on the Ohio prisons website and see he's up for another parole hearing in 2013. Hopefully this sicko will never be released into society again.
482 posts
Aug 24, 2010
3:20 PM
Kettering P.D. is poised to charge him with the Butler murder if he is somehow released on parole, they will be waiting for him at the front door. They have not gone to the trouble of filing on him because they don't think he is going to be released. Cold case detectives have been VERY active on this case. Hats off to the dedicated Men and Women of the Kettering Police Department for their dogged determination and refusal to let justice go un-served.

I have all of this information posted from last Year on the thread titled "A sad memory"

Last Edited by on Aug 24, 2010 3:20 PM
47 posts
Aug 24, 2010
4:29 PM
Rat, I second the hats off to the KPD. When I was a corrections officer for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Kettering PD was one of the primo and professional agencies to deal with. They are very, very squared away.
60 posts
Aug 25, 2010
9:41 AM
dquartz, maybe you are talking about the Samantha Ritchey murder (1995) which happened around the same time as the middle of the novel I am writing, so I have done a bit of re-write to work mentions of it in. It turned out Momma did it; the girl was only 4; Momma got 27 years (and IMHO should have gotten the needle). Found it when I was researching the novel; at the burial service the father read a poem which had been sent to him by a supporter; which was so heart-rending I cannot quote it as i will start bawling my eyes out again.
501 posts
Aug 25, 2010
4:56 PM

Good luck on your novel, unfortunately you lost me on the Ritchie thing, was this something that happened in Dayton? I haven’t seen Quartz around the boards for quite a while. I tried sending him a email a couple of day’s ago but got no response. I hope he finds his way back some day, he used to come up with some good topics and kept me busy hunting things up.

Last Edited by on Aug 25, 2010 4:57 PM
508 posts
Aug 25, 2010
9:03 PM

Thanks for the date; I will try to find something on the story. Unfortunately The Dayton Daily News is the only place I refuse to go, they are the absolute worst and most frustrating sites in the nation to try and pull information from. You can count on the first 8-10 attempts to come back marked NO RESULTS. I have fond memories of the old Dayton Daily News/Journal Herald, it’s sad to see how they have gone downhill in the age of technology.

Last Edited by on Aug 25, 2010 9:04 PM
517 posts
Aug 27, 2010
4:16 AM

Thanks to your information, I was able to locate the story from another news source. What a sad story. I can close my eyes and picture the area where the family lived. It's unbelievable that that area is now referred to as "A high crime area"

And I fully agree with you, the Mother should have received the Death Penalty, however the needle seems a bit too humane for the circumstances.
40 posts
Aug 30, 2010
2:03 PM
Surprised no one has mentioned the hostage taking event at a bar on Patterson Rd just west of Woodman. A Ch 7 videographer, whose identity I will protect, was hidden across the street that evening. The gunman, Howard Schirmer, was drunk and took a hostage and could be seen inside the bar with the door standing open. He then brought the hostage outside surrounded by Kettering Police. He held the gun to the hostage's head for a long time yelling at the cops. The hostage used a judo move to flip the gunman and broke free. Schirmer stood back up and walked toward the police, raising his gun and you could hear the order to open fire. The police let him have it and he was killed. This was December 1981. It made the CBS Evening News.

Last Edited by on Aug 30, 2010 2:06 PM
56 posts
Aug 30, 2010
7:17 PM

I remember that. It happened outside Hank's on Patterson. The guy had the pistol taped to his hand if I recall correctly. After he was flipped and returned to his feet with gun in hand, the Kettering cops let him have it. There were a lot of shots fired, none by him that I remember.
13 posts
Sep 06, 2010
5:30 AM
I had posted earlier about a murder at Smales Bakery on Xenia Avenue. I had gotten the location wrong. My grandmother lived next to Smales and on the other side of her house was a grocery at one time. That is where the murder occured. Sorry about the mistake.
30 posts
Apr 23, 2011
8:30 PM
i do remember my parents who were teens at the time talking about the john dillinger arrest. his girlfriend at the time lived on west first st i believe. big hoopla for the time!!
31 posts
Apr 23, 2011
8:37 PM
also...does anyone have any info on the cathy sano murder in kettering. was missing in 81 remains found feb 82. i knew the man convicted and can't see him do this. i still think he was somewhat of a patsy due to some mental illness. when dna was available, underwear to be exact,the evidence was destroyed. how can ANY evidence for a capital offence EVER be destroyed. any info would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
22 posts
Apr 24, 2011
10:40 AM
"Re:Girl on the volkswagon floor,Her name was Barbara Ann Butler,worked for mad rivers schools,I believe"

She taught at Fairborn for that one year.
1 post
Apr 24, 2011
3:05 PM
I was a friend of Judy Kanter that was murdered at the plantation club-it was never solved. I remember when she disappeared, my boyfriend and her boyfriend at the time, searching for her when she disppeared. I also remember getting the news when they found her. We had been at the swimming pool and that was the last time I saw her.
2 posts
Apr 24, 2011
3:27 PM
I went to school with Bill Mortimer when his father, a policeman, was shot and killed in downtown Dayton during a jewely heist I think. I think they caught the shooter and he was executed-that will be easy to look up.
4 posts
Apr 24, 2011
5:19 PM
does anyone remember anything about the children in Northridge being murdered? I think in the 60's and the babysitter was accused; it was on Harding Road or around that area. I can't find anything out about it and I don't know if the babysitter was proven innocent.
17 posts
Apr 26, 2011
6:43 PM
I remember the Samantha Ritchey case because each new bit of information was even more grotesque than the last.

That summer was brutally hot. The intense heat and humidity began the first of June and didn't let up till September. One morning, I noticed flyers about the missing girl, Samantha, in the back windows of several automobiles in my neighborhood.

The mother of the missing girl seemed to love the limelight, stating at one point that she "wasn't another Susan Smith". Her neighbor had a story about the little girl showing up at the door at 1am, when he simply told her to go on home.

There was a great deal made about child-sized footprints and a toy by the river a block or so away.

It eventually turned out that the mother and the neighbor (who looked like a cross from hell between Buddy Ebsen and Abe Lincoln) were enjoying an assignation in the shared basement of their duplex (the only place where it wasn't too stifling hot) when Samantha interrupted them by coming down in search of her mother.

The mother, Jolene(?), enraged at the interruption, beat her daughter in the head with a cast on her arm, either resulting in the child's death, or injury great enough that it seemed the only reasonable solution was to finish killing the child. Jolene's cast subsequently disappeared.

A foundry pond eventually yielded Samantha's body. It was initially thought she'd been violated, but it turned out the injury was postmortem, inflicted by the grappling hook used to recover her.

A good Samaritan donated a "Barney the Dinosaur" headstone for her grave.
8 posts
Apr 28, 2011
5:32 PM
does anyone remember a murder at the Dayton Stencil in downtown Dayton in the 1970's? Someone who remembers it said the murderer is up for parole; he worked at Dayton Stencil, heard a fellow employee say he was getting some money, showed up that Saturday morning, shot and killed him.
188 posts
Apr 30, 2011
4:42 PM
Here is the poem written by Deborah Randolph in memory of Samantha Ritchie:

Samantha's Song From Heaven

"I'm sorry I didn't get a chance
To even say goodbye;
But I'm OK, I really am
So please try not to cry.

The Angels here are really nice,
They're taking good care of me,
If I can't be there with all of you,
This is where I want to be.

There is no pain or sadness here,
It's as pretty as can be
I hope you all will be real good
So you can come play with me.

Bye-bye for now, I've got to go,
There's lots of things to do;
Like polish stars
And jump in clouds,
And wait for all of you."

THIS is one of the five most heart-rending things I have ever read.

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