Columbiana County sheriff looks for information in 2016 unsolved murder


A farmer investigating a smell in Salineville found the woman's body in 2016

Samantha Stewart

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – As recently as November, Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin interviewed a witness in the unsolved 2016 homicide of a West Virginia woman who was found in Wayne Township.

McLaughlin said he thinks the case of Samantha Jo Stewart, 26, of Weirton, West Virginia, is solvable.

Stewart was last seen by family members July 30, 2016. On Aug. 4, 2016, a farmer investigating a smell on Alderlick Road in Salineville found Stewart’s decomposed body and called 911.

In between, investigators know she went to Steubenville with some friends but what happened to her after that is unknown.

McLaughlin said investigators have traveled to Weirton and Steubenville to talk to people who knew Samantha to see if they can find out her last movements and who she may have been with.

The case was also added this month to the Ohio Attorney General’s webpage on unsolved homicides.

An autopsy revealed Stewart died of blunt force trauma and her death was ruled a homicide.

One thing hampering investigators is the fact that Stewart was killed somewhere else and her body was left on Alderlick Road.

“It makes it more difficult without a scene,” McLaughlin said. “You can find more evidence at a scene.”

Also, it was not uncommon for Samantha to be out of contact with friends and family for periods of time, which also hampers the investigation, McLaughlin said.

“She bounced from place to place and that made it more difficult.”

Alderlick Road is only a couple of turns off a major road, State Route 39, which McLaughlin said makes him think whoever dumped Samantha’s body was a “little familiar” with the area.

An obituary for Samantha said she left behind her mother and a young son. Her father and stepfather are deceased.

Anyone with information can call the detectives at the sheriff’s office at 330-424-7255 or they can leave a tip on the attorney general’s website.

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