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Bodies of missing Ohio couple found in Ohio River after 2018 disappearance

BELMONT COUNTY, Oh. — There is a break in a high-profile missing persons case in eastern Ohio that captivated much of the Northern Panhandle.

According to Belmont County (Ohio) Sheriff Dave Lucas and Jefferson County (Ohio) Sheriff Fred Abdalla, the car and bodies of two missing persons from Ohio, Joni Davis and Brian Goff, were discovered by divers in the Ohio River in the early hours of Thursday morning across from Brooke and Ohio counties.

Lucas, Abdalla, federal investigators, and the divers detailed the findings during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Davis and Goff disappeared on June 10, 2018, after eating dinner at a Pizza Hut in St. Clairsville, Ohio close to Wheeling.

The Southern Illinois diving group “ChaosDivers” made the discovery close to Martins Ferry, Ohio along Ohio Route 7. WTOV-TV in Wheeling reported that surveillance footage from 2018 showed their vehicle going north on Route 7 near the Hanover Fuel Stop in Martins Ferry, which is where they were located.

Abdalla said the bodies were found inside the car, a light blue Oldsmobile 88, with their seat belts still on. He said during the press conference it took between four and five hours to get the car out of the Ohio River.

Abdalla said that evidence will be gathered Friday and taken to the Ohio Attorney General Crime Lab for forensic work.

“We don’t know what happened to them, we may never know. We don’t know today (Thursday) so don’t ask question if this is a homicide. We don’t know,” he said.

“Could it be a suicide? You don’t know. Could it be an accident that happened? We don’t know and we won’t know until the autopsy is completed.”

The FBI and an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Crime Scene Unit are on the case.

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