Arrest linked to 3 cold cases



SIDNEY — An arrest of a Logan County man made by Logan County Law Enforcement on Monday, Aug. 19 2019, is believed linked to a series of three past abductions which occurred in Sidney Ohio in the early 1990’s.

Ralph E Bortree, age 55, who resides at 4605 County Road 18, Bellefontaine, was arrested by Logan County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count of attempted aggravated murder for a Logan County case from 1993. Investigators from the Sidney Police Department were with Logan County Deputies when the arrest was made at the Bortree residence. Sidney Police Department Investigators also assisted Logan County in execution of a search warrant at the Bortree residence.

On May 23, 1992, a 21-year-old female was walking on Court Street near Brooklyn Avenue, Sidney, Ohio, when a man in a vehicle abducted the 21 year old forcing her into the trunk of his car. The suspect was driving a light colored four-door. The suspect drove the victim to a remote area of Shelby County and sexually assaulted her. He then released her.

On July 22, 1993, a 16-year-old female was parked in her vehicle at the entrance to Tawawa Park. A male subject driving a red pickup truck pulled in behind the victim, brandished a hand gun and then pulled the victim from her vehicle placing her into his pickup truck. The suspect left the truck momentarily at which point the victim escaped from the truck running to the area of the swimming pool and gaining attention from citizens in the area. The suspect fled the area.

On May 24, 1995, a 22-year-old female was sitting in her vehicle in the parking lot of Tawawa Lake in Tawawa Park. A male subject driving a white Mustang pulled in behind the victim. The male subject approached the victim and points a hand gun at her and commanded her to get into his vehicle. The victim complied at which the suspect drove them out of Tawawa Park eventually driving south bound down Brooklyn Avenue near Riverside Drive. The victim then started struggling with the suspect that included pulling the steering wheel and gear shift. After doing so the suspect ordered the victim out of the car to which she fled from and ran to the oncoming vehicle approaching behind them.

Investigators at that time believed all three of the Sidney abductions were linked due to the fact of the similar description provided of suspect by the victims.

Recently, a new lead was developed on this case when crime lab testing developed a DNA match between the May 23, 1992, abduction/sexual assault in Sidney to a July 1993 abduction/sexual assault/attempted murder case investigated by Logan County Sheriff’s Office. Through follow up investigation conducted by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with information provided by the Sidney Police Department the Logan County Sheriff’s Office was able to identify the suspect that matched the DNA profile collected in the 1992 Sidney case and Logan County’s case.

The three cases occurring in Sidney believed linked to Bortree have been reviewed by the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office. As of now, it is believe that the time has expired to bring charges on these cases due to statue of limitations.

All citizens are asked that if they have any information that might be helpful to these cases to contact the Sidney Police Department at 937-498-8777 or Crime Stoppers at 937-492-8477 (TIPS).