It's been a long summer for authorities handling a missing person case.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Investigators probing the disappearance of a Columbiana County woman are back to square one.
Authorities in Ross County, south of Columbus, determined this week that the body of a woman found there Aug. 16 is not that of Tracy Hill, the 24-year-old Middleton Township woman last seen June 7, sheriff's department Detective Jerry Herbert said Friday.
Ross County investigators compared Hill's dental and medical records with the body and concluded they did not match.
The body, badly burned, was found wrapped in plastic. She died from a head injury about two to six weeks before the body was discovered, investigators said.
Columbiana County investigators have said they thought chances were poor that the body was Hill's.
No connections: Weeks of investigation have turned up no evidence that Hill had any Ross County connections. Also, Hill has been missing for more than 10 weeks, at least a month longer than the Ross County woman has been dead.
Late in July, those investigating Hill's disappearance thought they might have cracked the case when specially trained dogs detected a body's scent below the surface of Guilford Lake, west of Lisbon.
For days, divers scoured inky waters in the area marked by the canines, but the search produced nothing.
Hill's estranged husband, Clifford, 32, had been living with relatives at Guilford Lake and was found there June 18 with a car used by Tracy.
Arrested: Clifford was arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle because the car's owner, Tracy's mother, had not given him permission to drive the vehicle.
Hill is in the county jail awaiting disposition of that case.
After the Guilford Lake search, Columbiana County officials, acting on tips, scoured woods and fields in areas of Unity and Fairfield townships but found nothing.
Tips also prompted Wayne County authorities early this month to search a swampy area near Wooster. But they also came up empty-handed.
Tracy and Clifford Hill are both originally from Wayne County and have family there.
Herbert said no additional searches for Tracy are planned.
"It's still an open case," he said. "I'd like to get some closure."