YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It is not unusual for things — or bodies — to be dumped in the Sharon Line neighborhood of the East Side.
The most rural part of the city even back in 2001, police have found several bodies there over the years, including the body of Ernestine Phillips-Fears, who was found on a cloudy, cold, windy Sunday in March 2001 at Cantwell and Carson avenues on the East Side.
Her death was ruled a homicide. No arrests have even been made.
Just six days later on April 5, 2001, the body of Alyson Buckner, 29, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest in an empty field on Cloister Avenue, just two blocks away from where Phillips-Fears was found.
Unlike the Phillips-Fear case, however, police did make an arrest in her death and a person was convicted in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court as an accomplice to her murder.
Phillips-Fears was found at about 1:25 p.m. March 31, 2001, after a man called 911 and said he believed he saw a body in the road. Police followed him from a home on Wardle Avenue where they discovered Phillips-Fears lying face down in the road.
Investigators also found a set of tire tracks that went from her leg to her leather coat. At the time, there was no identification on her body. She was identified later after an autopsy.
There was also a white handkerchief in the road and a large clump of hair.
The Sharon Line is situated roughly between state Route 616 and Liberty Road, bounded by McGuffey Road and Hubbard Township with Jacobs Road cutting through the heart of it. The area got its name from a streetcar that used to run through it from Sharon, Pa.
From an investigator’s standpoint, it is a hard area to solve a homicide because typically a body is dumped there, so clues that are often found at the scene of a crime are lacking, unless it is known where the crime actually took place.
Also, because the area is so remote, there are not a lot of people around to see or report suspicious activity, and the roads are not well traveled. In fact, the city closed several of the roads in the area over the last few years because of declining population.
And because of the declining population on the East Side overall, the police department several years ago cut back the number of beat cars on that side of town to just two.
There are also not a lot of video or surveillance cameras in the area because there are not a lot of buildings.
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Anyone with information on the death of Phillips-Fears, or any of the other unsolved homicides from 2001, can call the Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911 or CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE.
2001 UNSOLVED HOMICIDES
Jan. 12: Terril Mitchum, 18, of Columbus, is found shot to death a short distance from a home in the 100 block of Kenmore Avenue in a shootout that wounded two other men.
Jan. 22: Margaret Simons, 22 and Antoine Barnett, 27, are found shot to death in a car parked in the drive of a vacant 1350 Berwick Ave. home.
March 9: Thomas Hawk, 65, is found shot in the head near a payphone outside a 718 Belmont Ave. store.
March 31: Ernestine Fears, 50, is found dead in the road at Cantwell and Carson on the East Side. There are tire tracks on her body.
May 2: James Robinson, 24, is shot to death in a car he was riding in on Logan Avenue.
June 4: Clint Wright, 42, is found shot in the head at a business on Kenmore Avenue where he was a janitor.
June 17: Jerome Williams, 20, is shot to death as he walked in the middle of Hylda Avenue.
July 21: Alphonso James, 41, is found with gunshot wounds to the head at Lansdowne and Arch in a wooded area on the East Side.
Aug. 23: Vaschon May, 24, is found shot to death in the woods behind a home in the 1000 block of Erie Street.
Aug. 26: Jonathan McClendon, 23, is killed in a drive-by shooting at Hudson and West Princeton.
Aug. 28: Anthony Bailey, 23, runs into a McGuffey Road bar and dies after being shot several times on Miami Avenue.
Sept. 28: Scottie Hornbuckle, 22, is found shot to death in his Parkview Avenue home.
Sept. 30: Terrence L. Green, 30, is found shot to death outside the former Uptown Theater on Market Street
Oct. 31: Hyland Burton, 23, is shot several times at a home in the 100 block of Tod Lane.
Nov. 1: Michael J. Green, 52, is found shot to death in the drive of a home in the 1700 block of Rosedale Avenue after being shot on Cohasset Drive.
Nov. 28: Ollie Hightower, 53, is shot in the head in his Sycamore Avenue home.
Dec. 17: Daniel Harris, 46, dies after being shot as he drives past the Party Pantry on Glenwood Avenue.
Dec. 23: Levon Hill, 49, is shot to death in his South Avenue apartment. Kent police find his vehicle two days later.