The tranquility of the Cleveland Metroparks is something area residents know and love, and many rely on it to provide grounding in a stressful world. On any given day, hundreds of runners, bicyclists and walkers populate the trails and walkways. Anglers dot waterline up and down the Rocky River as it winds past the overlooks and trails.
The park’s sense of peace was shattered on June 4 when North Olmsted resident Carnell Sledge, 40, and Fairview Park resident Katherine Brown, 33, were found shot to death in the Rocky River Metroparks Reservation, just below the Lorain Road bridge. A vigil for the two friends, held June 11 on the banks of the Rocky River at the park bench where they had been sitting, was a solemn affair.
Now, the investigation appears to have hit a roadblock. The Metroparks Police and FBI are asking for your help. Even in this age of Facebook, closed circuit traffic cameras and Twitter, investigators can’t solve crimes on their own. On Monday, three weeks after the horrific crime, the agencies held a joint press conference asking for the public’s help in solving the murders. The had already provided incentive: FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for information about the killings. In addition, Crimestoppers has offered up to $2,500 for tips on the case.
We urge our readers to seriously consider the plea. If you have any information that could bring the culprit(s) to justice, call the police or the FBI at 440-331-5219.
But we want to point out that the road goes both ways. Officials maintain the taxpayer-supported park remains safe and that the killings were an isolated incident, but have shared little else.
While we do not want to do is interfere with the investigation, crime in this little bit of paradise hits home. The Cleveland Metroparks is a 102-year-old gem. One of the jewels is the Rocky River Reservation, which touches Berea, Brook Park, Cleveland, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Olmsted Township and Rocky River.
Reassurances with few facts being shared on the progress of the investigation are not satisfying visitors to the reservation. They are expressing fear and confusion.
Just as we urge citizens to notify the police if they know something, we would ask that the police keep the many people who are appalled by this crime and love the park in the loop.
That said, we will remember to keep Sledge and Brown in our thoughts and honor the lives that ended way too soon.