The Chillicothe Six: The Chilling Disappearance & Murder Of Six Women In Rural Ohio

Over the course of 14 months, between the spring of 2014 and the summer of 2015, several women disappeared from the area around Chillicothe, Ohio. Four were later found dead, in some cases with signs that they were the victims of violence. Two were never seen or heard from again.

Of the six cases, later dubbed the "Chillicothe Six," only the last victim ever received justice: Her murderer was convicted and sent away for life. However, he was never tied to any of the other five disappearances, and those cases remain unsolved to this day.

In a larger sense, the killings shone a light on the problems bedeviling rural communities at the time. Ross County, like other rural Ohio counties, was suffering under the weight of an addiction crisis, and many women, including at least some of the Chillicothe Six, turned to sex work as a result. That cycle of addiction and illegal sex work provided a killer with an ample supply of victims and an environment in which they were seemingly able to get away with murder.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The women

The first of the women to disappear from Chillicothe was Charlotte Trego. According to, Trego had connections to sex work and suffered from a heroin addiction. The mother of two disappeared in May 2014, and her whereabouts remain a mystery as of June 19, 2022.

The next was Tameka Lynch, a friend of Trego's. She was reported missing on May 3, 2014, and her body was found three weeks later by kayakers. An autopsy determined that she likely died of a drug overdose, although it was inconclusive. According to HuffPost, her family is not convinced there wasn't foul play involved in her death.

Wanda Lemons disappeared in November 2014. According to an October 2020 Facebook post, she was still missing at that time.

Shasta Himelrick disappeared on Christmas Day 2014. A few days later, her body was found in the icy Scioto River. Though her death was ruled a suicide, her family members believe she was murdered.

Tiffany Sayre disappeared in May 2015. Her body was found in a creek weeks later, according to HuffPost, wrapped in a sheet.

The last woman to disappear was Timberly Claytor, whose body was found near a vacant building, having been shot to death.

Other women were reported missing but later turned up safe

When women first started going missing around Chillicothe, police weren't sure what to make of the rash of disappearances. Since many of the missing women were sex workers and/or were battling addiction issues, it wasn't out of the question that they were simply out of sight for a while, rather than abducted or murdered.

Law enforcement was also plagued, at the time, by reports of missing persons who weren't actually missing, according to The Chillicothe Gazette. Several women were reported missing during that time, only to turn up alive and well or be located by police a short time later.

When Tameka Lynch first disappeared, police told her husband they had no reason to believe she was in any danger. While that statement was true when they made it, "the seeds of distrust had been sown" when Tameka's body was later found, clothed only in a pair of socks, wrote Chillicothe Gazette reporter Jona Ison.

Five years later, in 2019, the murders and disappearances of the six women remained unsolved, and Chillicothe Police Chief Keith Washburn was compelled to admit his department had done everything it could.

"This is probably the most extensive investigation ever in this county," he said.

Drugs, sex work, and human trafficking

The disappearances of the Chillicothe Six took place within a larger context: the area the women disappeared from was plagued by addiction, which sparked sex work, which many believe invited human trafficking.

According to a June 2015 report, which was updated in 2019 following the arrest of a suspect in one of the murders, town leaders were convinced that drugs may have played a role in the crimes.

"I think people migrated here [from larger Ohio cities] and brought the drug epidemic with them," said a local pastor.

"We are plagued with evil in this town," said another clergyman.

Police were also not sure whether the disappearances were the work of a single serial killer, or if a sex-trafficking operation preying on vulnerable women was operating in the city. Meanwhile, many of the women knew each other and were known to do drugs or sex work together, possibly lending credence to the idea that sex trafficking was an issue in the disappearances.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Police made one arrest in one case

In July 2015, as WLWT reported, a grand jury formally indicted Jason McCrary with murder in connection with the death of Timberly Claytor, the last of the Chillicothe women to disappear and one of only four whose bodies were ever found.

Weeks earlier, passersby had found Claytor's body next to an abandoned building in a nearby town. She had been shot in the head three times.

Prosecutors alleged that McCrary, a convicted sex offender, along with an accomplice, Ernest "Dolla Bill" Moore III, lured Claytor into their vehicle in order to have sex and use drugs, according to a 2016 Chillicothe Gazette report. Then, when Claytor smoked the last of McCrary's crack cocaine, he murdered her, said Ross County Common Pleas Judge Michael Ater, via The Columbus Dispatch.

"You essentially killed a woman because she dared to smoke the last bit of your crack cocaine," Ater said.

McCrary, however, insisted throughout his trial that it was his accomplice who fired the fatal shots, and that he was never going to get a fair trial due to the media attention surrounding his case. McCrary died in 2022 at the age of 44 while still imprisoned at the Warren Correctional Institution. 

Police suspected McCrary's accomplice might have known something about the missing women

Though a jury did not buy Jason McCrary's claim that his accomplice, Ernest "Dolla Bill" Moore (or "Dollar Bill" in some sources), actually killed Timbery Claytor, Moore did not fully escape the long arm of the law.

In September 2015, as HuffPost reported, Moore turned himself in after a nationwide warrant for his arrest was issued. At the time, he was suspected in the torture of a man who purportedly owed a drug debt.

However, the newspaper also reported at the time that police believed Moore might have had information about the other five missing and dead Chillicothe women. How or why authorities had that suspicion was not made clear. Moore, for his part, appears not to have revealed any useful information, as the cases remain unsolved to this day.

In 2016, according to The Canton Repository, Moore was convicted of kidnapping and felonious assault in connection with the torture case and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Police were investigating a potential ink to a suspected serial killer

In 2015, a woman identified in the media as "Heather" shot and killed 45-year-old Neal Falls at her home in Charleston, West Virginia. The killing was considered self-defense: Falls broke into Heather's home with a gun and attempted to strangle her. After his death, police found suspicious items and materials in Falls' car: handcuffs, bleach, a bulletproof vest, and a shovel. There was also a list of 10 other women on his person. Falls was later named a suspect in a series of killings across three different states. While he had no criminal record, the materials in his car appeared linked to bodies found near his old home in Las Vegas.

Given how close West Virginia is to Ohio, Falls became a person of interest in the investigation of the dead and missing women from Chillicothe, despite the absence of any concrete link. According to the Chillicothe Gazette, investigators from West Virginia contacted local officials as part of a look into potential connections. But as of 2023, Falls has not been linked to any of the Chillicothe deaths or disappearances.

The police don't always take crimes against sex workers seriously

According to A&E TV, the murder rate among women who do sex work is significantly higher than it is among other women who are not sex workers. Specifically, of the women murdered by serial killers between 1970 and 2009, 22% were sex workers. In the past decade, however, that number has gone up to 43%.

"It's such a dangerous profession to get into. Being a prostitute increases your chance of being murdered by 200 times," said Eric Hickey, a social psychologist and the author of the book, "Serial Murderers and their Victims." He noted that murderers find them easy victims, unlikely to be missed by many people.

Complicating matters is the fact that police are generally less likely to commit resources to solving or preventing the murders of sex workers.

"[Police] look at a woman who is over 21 years old and who is missing and is a sex worker, and they think that person leads an itinerant life and may not even be in trouble. Meanwhile, there are 16 other cases staring them in the face that they have a better chance of solving," said journalist Robert Kolker.

The story of the Chillicothe Six will be told until there are answers

The missing and dead women of Chillicothe, Ohio, have attracted attention from many true crime aficionados. With so many questions surrounding their disappearances unanswered, the cases are ripe for speculation — and a lot of people have speculated. The Chillicothe six have been the subject of two docuseries, as well as an episode of the "True Crime Chronicles" podcast. Investigation Discovery produced "The Vanishing Women" in 2016, a six-part series detailing each woman and the investigations into their disappearance or death. The following year, Spike TV aired the eight-part "Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio." The title was chosen based on the perceived lack of justice shown to the missing women.

The Chillicothe cases have also inspired works of fiction. "On the Savage Side," a novel by Tiffany McDaniel, is about twin sisters struggling with a family history of addiction. It was sparked by McDaniel's personal investigation into the disappearances. During her investigation, she learned that another missing woman from the area was an old schoolmate. McDaniel wanted to challenge the attitude toward the women she saw in others, one that seemed to hold them as partially culpable for their deaths due to their circumstances.