UNION TOWNSHIP — A Union Township resident is in the Miami County Jail, charged with murdering his wife following a Friday afternoon crash where Samantha S. Freels, was found dead at the scene.
Randy A. Freels, 57, was taken into custody on Friday night following a series of events that culminated with his arrest and charges of inducing panic and leaving the scene of a crash being filed. A charge of first-degree felony murder was filed against Freels late Saturday afternoon.
The charges are in connection with the death of Freels’ wife, Samantha S. Freels, 52, who was found in her vehicle following a crash on State Route 55, just west of Elleman Road in Union Township.
Miami County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with fire and EMS units from Union Township and Ludlow Falls were dispatched to the area at 3:04 p.m., Friday, on the report of a vehicle in a creek.
Officials found a female driver inside the vehicle, deceased.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said, “While investigating the crash, deputies discovered what appeared to be a gunshot wound on the victim.”
Freels’ remains, by order of the Miami County coroner, were removed to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for autopsy.
“While processing what we now believed was a crime scene, we received information that Mrs. Freels’ husband, Randy A. Freels, age 57, also of Union Township, had recently made comments that afternoon to a third party that he expected to be in some type of shoot-out with law enforcement,” said Duchak. “That, coupled with the fact we were made aware of a large number of firearms at his resident on South Rangeline Road, I made the decision to deploy our special response team and also requested mutual aid from the Troy and Piqua police departments for their special response teams.”
The SRTs established a perimeter around the house and were able to take Freels into custody without incident.
Miami County Sheriff’s detectives obtained a search warrant for the South Rangeline Road address, along with Mrs. Freels’ car and a pick-up truck belonging to Randy Freels that was located a short distance from the spot where Mrs. Freels was found.
Sheriff Duchak stated, “As of this release, detectives and evidence technicians are still searching and processing the South Rangeline Road residence and the two vehicles. Detectives have also interviewed several persons who provided information. Much progress has been made in the investigation.
“Additionally, this morning we received preliminary autopsy results from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office that indicate Mrs. Freels died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. We believe that she was shot in her vehicle very close to where she crashed. We would request that anyone in the area of West State Route 55 and Elleman Road yesterday between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. who may have seen either of the two vehicles or heard anything to call the Miami County Communication Center at 937-440-9911. The vehicles involved were a blue Dodge pick-up truck and a red Kia Rio. Anonymous tips can also be left on our website, www.miamicountysheriff.org.”
Duchak said that they believe Mr. Freels to be a suspect and do not have any evidence that others were involved.
Detectives are conferring with Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell and his staff as the investigation moves forward.
The sheriff offered thanks to his staff, Troy and Piqua police departments, along with Ludlow Falls Fire Department and Union Township fire and medics for “the extraordinary job they all did last night during extremely dangerous weather conditions. Their professionalism and dedication to duty I cannot emphasize enough.”
Freels remains incarcerated at the Miami County Jail.
Reach Mike Ullery at 937-451-3335