YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police have filed aggravated murder charges against two 16-year-olds for the death of a 14-year-old who was found in a field on the East Side earlier this year.
The two juveniles, who police did not name, were charged in Mahoning County Juvenile Court with the death of Landon Lockhart.
Lockhart’s body was found Jan. 13 in a wooded area on North Truesdale Avenue. He had been missing for several weeks before he was found.
Detectives have said they believe Lockhart was killed before the first of the year.
Detective Sgt. Robert Gentile, the lead investigator on the case, said the two suspects have been in the Juvenile Justice Center since May on other charges.
He said he could not comment specifically on why charges were not filed until today, but he did say the two were suspects early on in the investigation.
“There was a lot that went into this case,” Gentile said.
Lockhart’s mother, LaJena Solomon, said she’s happy to know the suspects in her son’s case are behind bars but she also knows this is just the beginning of a long process towards justice.
She described how she felt when she first learned the news of the arrests.
“I was in the middle of a store. All I could do was drop to my knees and just start crying…But I had to collect myself, and when I hung up I had to thank God because it’s some type of release to know that they’re getting somewhere,” said Solomon.
Lockhart was reported missing Nov. 21 and was not found until Jan. 13, which complicated things, Gentile said.
“We were behind by almost two months,” Gentile said.
Gentile said he could not comment on a motive. He said Lockhart had been in the field on North Truesdale for some time before he was found.
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A news release from the police department credited Gentile and officer Hannah Short of the Family Services Investigative Unit for their work on the case.