MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio — Murder charges have been filed against an Ohio man who allegedly killed a Kanawha County teenager he met through Craigslist.

WVRJA

Ernest Roach, 36, of Racine, Ohio, was charged Tuesday in the death of Ericka Brown.

Ernest Michael Roach, 36, was being held at the South Central Regional Jail when the additional charges were officially filed Tuesday morning in Meigs County, Ohio.

(Read Ericka Brown investigation timeline here)

“It’s a very sad situation, the whole story, for the young lady, for this to happen,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood told MetroNews “Talkline” on Tuesday. “We’re glad that we were able to recover her and it would be a lot better circumstance the other way but, at least closure can happen for the family on this situation as it is.”

An autopsy on the body of Ericka Brown, 16, of Cross Lanes, had not been completed as of Tuesday morning, leaving Wood to contend it was still unclear exactly how or when Brown died.

Deputies are focused on the murder investigation.

“We’re very out of the gates on this thing, trying to get things all put together and there’s a lot of speculation that could be said, but we’re just trying to gather the facts right now, as they exist, and put those pieces together,” Wood said.

A federal court filing that was unsealed on Tuesday indicated that Brown had placed personal ads on Craigslist prior to July. Roach has allegedly told investigators he first had sex with Brown that month. According to officials, Brown posted another ad on Aug. 3— offering sex for money—that Roach also answered.

According to federal documents, that ad stated Brown was “seeking men – w4m I’m looking for $$ ill [sic] do anything for it, I am a girl.”

Roach was scheduled to be in U.S. District Court in Charleston on Tuesday afternoon on a federal charge of traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor. A preliminary hearing on that charge could be scheduled for later this week.

“What’s so concerning to me about this, as a father and as a prosecutor, is what I see as an unfortunately common occurrence— young girls hooking up with who they believe to be individuals around their same age online or through outlets like Craigslist,” said Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District.

“People need to know this. Parents need to talk to their kids about the very real dangers facing them online. It can be a wonderful and very beneficial place, but they need to be talking about the very real dangers.”

In a videotaped confession, Roach claimed he picked up Brown in Cross Lanes on Aug. 9, took her to Ravenswood and paid her $25 to have sex again. Cell phone records placed the two in Ravenswood on the morning of Aug. 10, the same day Brown was first reported missing.

What happened next to the Nitro High School sophomore remains unclear.

The Ohio sheriffs became involved in the case Aug. 27 at the request of sheriff’s deputies in Kanawha County. At that point, Roach was a person of interest in Brown’s disappearance.

The investigation changed last Saturday, though, when Brown’s body was found along the Ohio River near Portland, Ohio, wrapped in a plastic tarp with a cement block tied to it.

“There’s a lot of suspicious things that we’re trying still to follow up on ourselves,” Wood said.

In addition to the Meigs County Sheriff’s Department, deputies with the Kanawha County sheriff’s and U.S. Marshals are involved in the ongoing investigation into Brown’s murder.

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Comments

  • Rwood Chick

    I knew Ernie, worked with him all year, never would have suspected he would do something like this. The overdose theory is extremely possible, but if the murder happened in Ravenswood how did no one know anything? Prayers go out to the family and friends of young Ericka, I'm only 24 but this needs to be a message to all the parents out there! You need to monitor your kids, the internet has come a long way from dial up.
    Oh, and one more thing.
    Death penalty? I'm all for one cure one bullet for anyone who hurts a child, but maybe people need to quit getting butt hurt and let the officers do their jobs. The truth always comes out it just takes time and don't get me wrong everyone is entitled to their own opinions and what was done to this girl was heiness, crude, and all around fucking horrible and I'm not defending Ernie by any means (like I said I worked with him we weren't friends or anything), but if she was so quick to get in a car and have sex with men for money the outcome was kind of inevitable and any number of men could have done this, although the evidence is speaking otherwise . I am praying for the family no one should loose anyone like this, and nobody should be reduced to being dumped in the Ohio river of all places but come on people its just as much the parents fault as it is hers and Ernies as well.. tragic event all the way around, Ive been following the story since it happened and have prayed on numerous occasions for this little girl to come home safely. Now all we can do is hope the justice system gets this right and brings justice home for the family..

  • RedDawn

    You are today what you chose to become yesterday.

  • Robert

    I want to know the cause of death before I pass judgement on the events surrounding this event.

  • Ricky

    I knew a man before Mr. Ernest that met her on Craigslist personally, she would buy marijuana off him, years ago her brother nearly died in a house fire, he is badly scarred. This family has had a history of bad luck... Her parents had no clue what she was doing with her personal life. They all found out at the same time the criminal investigators did. This is a tragedy, and this family has been through quite a bit. RIP young Ericka, we are all not far behind you. As far as Mr. Roach goes, I have a few friends being held in South Central Jail here, and I know what happens to people like him, don't worry. His life from here on out is rough, mentally disturbing...and could end sooner than later.

  • jeremy

    I may be wrong but this could be of her doing drugs like heroin and overdosing and him disposing of her body. I'm in no way making excuses for this pos he's gonna do serious time and deserves it ad if he did straight up kill her he proball will receive the death sentence. If confessed and they had the body why would they need the autopsy to conclude he did what he said.

  • GregG

    Ok, I'm all for the death penalty, and what this man did if convicted should get him a fast trip to the chair. But what I would like to know is......where was the parents while this girl was posting her "ads" on craigslist? And I doubt that was the only place she was selling. Yes it appears that Roach is a sick SOB, but there are a few others in this situation that need to be held accountable.

  • David Kennedy

    It's time for West Virginia to re-establish the Death Penalty...
    We have gone too long with the Liberal Mindset and it has failed us.
    Justice is demanded by the victim.
    A speedy trial and a swift execution will act as a warning to others.

    • rick g

      With the current way the death penalty is set up he would receive a long trial with multiple appeals that in the end would cost the state probably close to what it would cost to have him locked up for the next 50 years. Bringing back the death plenty in this state sounds good in theory but would never reach the speed of the "strap him to sparky and stick him in a ditch" that many people on the board long for. Criminals are criminals no matter the culture, country or time period. Bringing back the death plenty will not stop horrible crimes from being committed, but it may help us feel better that rotten people will meet there maker sooner rather than later.

  • cutty77

    Oh The Internet. Its tearing about the fabric of this Country. Or call it Social Media.

  • Molon Labe

    Federal Death Penalty.....no questions.

    Shame on the US Attorneys office if they think otherwise!

  • hailey

    So where is the IDIOT know as DumbLiberal at now ? On the August 2nd article you were posting making fun of this situation. Hope you are proud on yourself, you are disgusting ...go back and read your comments, just sickening !... better yet go back and crawl under your rock

    My prayer go out to the family, as any real parent knows this is a parents wost nighmare.

    • the flying dutchman

      i was curious as to what "dumbliberal" did post...and was able to find it. i cut and pasted below. i believe you're assessment of the post is correct. hopefully, we've read the last post from "dumbliberal".


      "If the investigators are a "little hesitant" to release information, then its still a runaway throwing a temper tantrum. Where's the "Amber Alert"? They apparently don't suspect she's in danger or they would have filed one without hesitation. You need to learn to read between the well chosen words the deputies are using in their press releases.

      Yawn. This has ZERO news associated with it. Non-story."

      • Jason

        Agreed. Dumb liberal has not a clue. Sad story all the way around. Unbelievable how the mind of an adult predator thinks. Educate the kids that there are real monsters out there.

        • I'm honest at least

          Uhhhh ohhh dwl/dumb liberal sounds like the cats out of the bag... Now everybody knows your an idiot.

          • Jason412

            +1 I'm honest at least and MCC

          • Mason County Contrarian

            What is even more disconcerting is that he probably has a following. There are many posts that stop just short of his extremism.

  • Reality

    That what happens when kids have trash as parents. The parents should be put in jail also.

    • Unknown

      I do not know her parents personally but I do work with one of them, and they seem to be such nice and thoughtful people. There were no indicators or signs that told me "I bet her mom/dad were the reason why she did it." not a single one. If you even look at her parent's Facebook profiles, you would know that they loved her with all of their hearts and are absolutely heartbroken. They didn't have a single clue what was going on. So before you assume that her parents are the main cause of this, think again, because people have free will.

    • Cigarman

      Do you know the parents?

      • Sad

        I didn't know them, but you cant argue with what he's saying. It's obvious she was raised in a chaotic, dysfunctional, immoral environment.

        • Alum

          Not necessarily. While the evidence may indicate this, at times good parents end up with kids that do bad things. It sounds like she was prostituting herself but it's a rather large leap to automatically blame the parents. I'm not necessarily defending the parents but I am saying that if you don't know them and the family situation then you can't accurately pass judgement.

          So Reality, do you know them? At least Sad indicated no knowledge of them.

  • Guardian

    This is just a shame. So young.

    What on earth was she thinking soliciting sex on the internet? I am deeply worried and concerned about what I see going on in the minds of the young teen generation today.

    My heart aches for the family. Nothing will ever completely heal this wound. May God's grace give them solace in this time of extreme loss.

    Lastly, I hope Ohio wins the death penalty on this jerk. Bad enough to have sex with a minor, but why on earth did he have to kill her? He deserves to die.

  • ViennaGuy

    How very, very sad.

  • Charleston

    Very, very, very sad! Prayers sent to the family of this young girl.