Youngstown investigators comb Mahoning River for evidence in death investigations

Cold Case

Detectives combed the river on the west side near the area where the remains of Kricket Rinebold were found in January

Video report by Gerry Ricciutti

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Youngstown Police Department’s Detective Bureau, along with the city fire department, have searched the Mahoning River Tuesday for evidence in two death investigations.

Detectives were combing the river on the west side near the area where the remains of Kricket Rinebold, 38, were found in January.

Her remains were found by an Ohio Department of Transportation crew off of Interstate 680.

Rinebold, of Pennsylvania, had been missing since the summer. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Police were also searching for the body of John Hura Jr., 36 who may have fallen into the river over a year ago during a fight. Crews entered there near the Marshal Street Bridge.

Detective Sgt. Dave Sweeney, who heads up missing persons for the department, said investigators decided to search this week because of the nice weather.

Reports said Hura lived under a bridge downtown and “folklore information” has said he fell into the river after a fight with another man, Michael De Cola, 37, who also fell into the river.

Hura was last seen Jan. 27, 2020, according to reports.

De Cola’s remains were recovered March 8, 2020, in the river after his body was spotted by a group of kayakers. A coroner’s report ruled he died of “asphyxia due to drowning” but also listed “contributing to alcohol intoxication” as a factor in his death.

Police and firefighters also searched the area around the West Avenue bridge, but they could not find Hura.

In the Rinebold case, detectives used rakes and shovels to comb through any debris on the riverbank and a boat also entered the water there.

Some bones were found, but they were determined to be animal bones. Assisting with the analysis of the bones is Dr. Loren Lease of the Youngstown State University Anthropology Department.

Detectives will not say if anything was found with Rinebold when her remains were recovered. They searched the riverbank and a wooded area off of Interstate 680 near the Salt Springs Road exit but found nothing they could use.

Sweeney is also looking for any information on a woman whose decomposed remains were found Oct. 31, 1995, in an Otis Street apartment. Investigators think she could have been America Williams, 30, of the Kent/Ravenna area, but they are still looking for confirmation.

Sweeney is also looking for any leads on the death of a man who was pulled from the river June 29, 1980, near the Market Street Bridge.

The man is described as a 5’8″ white male, 50 to 55 years old, with brown hair and brown eyes. A death certificate listed drowning as the cause of death, but an autopsy was never performed.

The date the man drowned could not be determined, but it is not believed he was in the river very long, newspaper accounts at the time said.

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