The Miami Township Police Department wants to know the identity of the man seen walking in the neighborhood just before Paul Leiter was shot to death around 8 p.m. on Monday Feb. 11.
Someone shot into his home through a window from outside the house at 419 Pinebluff Drive. Neighbors say they saw a suspicious man walking in the neighborhood shortly before the shooting.
Police released a sketch on Feb. 15 of a man whose identity they were seeking. “So far we have not had a single call to Crime Stoppers by anyone to tell us who this man may be,” said Chief Bailey. “We have received two tips from members of the public at large, one through the Milford Police Department and one from an anonymous person who contacted the police through a news reporter. In each case the person identified was not a close match to the sketch. We still would like to hear from someone who may know who this is. That includes the person in the sketch. If you recognize yourself and have an innocent reason for being in the neighborhood, please contact us and help us clear this up.”
Police also want to know about a white van that was parked in the neighborhood at the same time. They don’t know if the unknown man was using that vehicle. Witnesses say the van was either a Chevrolet Astro or a Plymouth van.
“They said it was a boxy looking vehicle. It was white and had windows on the sides,” said Miami Township Police Chief R. Steven Bailey.
Police have been working full-time on the investigation since it was reported on Feb. 12. They say the victim was shot by someone outside the house on Monday evening Feb. 11. Police investigators and evidence technicians from Ohio BCI&I were at the crime scene for 33 hours taking photographs and collecting forensic evidence.
“We are working with a number of criminal justice agencies to help us with the investigation. We want to be sure that we are being as thorough as we can,” said Chief Bailey.
Miami Township Police are considering several persons of interest to the case. A search warrant was executed on a residence near Bethel, Ohio on Friday Feb. 15. Forensic evidence was collected at that location. No one there was arrested.
Police have interviewed a number of people and more interviews are pending. A large volume of evidence has been identified and processed for testing.
“We know that people would like to see this investigation resolved quickly, but we are dealing with the realties of long turnaround times for forensic testing,” said Chief Bailey. “It takes two to three weeks to get results from ballistics testing, 10 to 90 days for cell phone records, 30 days or more for DNA results, 30 to 180 days for results of the examination of electronic devices, and thirteen weeks or longer for toxicology results.”
“We would very much like to hear from anyone who may have information that can help us,” said Chief Bailey. “In other cases we have investigated we have found that people sometimes have information that they do not think is significant, so they withhold it. In some cases, that information can be the key link to solving a crime.”
Anyone with information about the white van or the identity of the man, or who may have seen him in the neighborhood on the night of Monday Feb. 11 or before that date should contact the Miami Township Police at (513) 248-3721 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or the Clermont County Communications Center at (513) 732-2231, available 24 hours a day, or Crime Stoppers at 888-352-3040. You can also text “CINTIP PLUS YOUR TIP” to CRIMES 274637. You will always remain anonymous with Crime Stoppers.
Some residents on Pinebluff asked for a meeting with Miami Township Police to learn more about the case and to discuss safety concerns. Chief Bailey and several investigators met with the residents Thursday evening Feb. 21, and he said it was a productive meeting.
“Based on what we know, there is no reason for anyone in the neighborhood to fear for their safety. We do not believe that this was a random act, and it does not appear to have been caused by stray bullets from recreational shooting nearby. This appears to be an intentional act that targeted the residents at 419 Pinebluff,” Chief Bailey said.