Murder of Tina Harmon

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Tina Harmon
Tina harmon.jpg
Tina Marie Harmon

June 9, 1969 (1969-06-09)
Creston, Ohio, United States
DiedOctober 29, 1981 (1981-10-30) (aged 12)
Lodi, Ohio, United States
Cause of deathStrangulation
Body discoveredNovember 3, 1981
Bethlehem Township, Ohio
Known forMurder victim

Tina Marie Harmon (June 9, 1969 – October 29, 1981) was a 12-year-old American girl who was abducted, raped, and murdered on October 29, 1981 after being dropped off in Lodi, Ohio. [1] After the discovery of her body, she was later buried at the Maple Mound Cemetery. Two men were originally convicted of her murder on circumstantial evidence but were eventually released when the conviction was overturned. Harmon's murder was solved in 2010 when DNA from the individual who raped her was matched to Robert Anthony Buell. [2] [3]


Case history

The polyester fibers found on Tina Harmon's body which matched the fibers from the van which was used in the abduction of Krista Harrison Harmon fibers.jpg
The polyester fibers found on Tina Harmon's body which matched the fibers from the van which was used in the abduction of Krista Harrison

Tina Harmon was reportedly last seen with a man in his twenties after she had been dropped off by her father's girlfriend in Lodi, Ohio. [4] Harmon's body was later found next to an oil well site in Navarre, Ohio, five days after her abduction. [4] Nutmeg-colored carpet fibers and dog hair were found on her clothing. [5] [6] [7]

In 1982, Ernest Holbrook, Jr. and Herman Ray Rucker were convicted of both the rape and murder of Harmon, but after complications with the witnesses' testimonies, one of them recanted. Rucker was given a new trial and was released in 1983. [4]

Robert Anthony Buell

In 1984, Robert Anthony Buell was convicted of the 1982 murder of Krista Lea Harrison. [6] The dog hairs on Harmon's body were matched to the ones found on a dog buried in Buell's yard, once DNA testing became possible. [4] Buell was later matched to Harmon's murder by comparing his DNA samples with the ones found on Harmon's clothing several years later. [8] In 2009, when the Harmon case was reopened, it was stated Buell's profile was obtained, but they did not have Tina's. [9]

The nutmeg-colored carpet fibers that were found on the bodies of both Harmon and Harrison matched as well. [2] However, Buell was never tried for Harmon's murder because he was already on death row. [6] In 2002, at the age of 62, Buell was executed for the murder of Harrison. [10]

Cleveland Scene journalist James Renner wrote about similar characteristics of the murders of Harmon, Harrison, and Debora Kaye Smith to the 1989 murder of Amy Mihaljevic, the latter two are currently unsolved. Although Buell was incarcerated at the time of Mihaljevic's death, he stated Buell's nephew Ralph Ross Jr. might be responsible and stated he could have been involved in the three preceding murders, if not the sole perpetrator. In 2008, the evidence in Harmon's case was compared to that in the Mihaljevic case. [7]

Ross was eliminated as the source of DNA from the Harmon case in 2010. [11]

See also

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  1. Rink, Matthew. "Family of Tina Harmon, abducted and killed in 1981, wants police to reopen the case". Archived from the original on October 24, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  2. 1 2 Renner, James (March 26, 2010). "Case Closed!". Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  3. " » 2002: Robert Anthony Buell" . Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Renner, James (December 30, 2008). "Ghosts Of Wayne County Doubts Haunt An Old Murder And The Execution That Followed". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  5. Renner, James (December 30, 2008). "Ghosts Of Wayne County". Cleveland Scene . Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  6. 1 2 3 Monahan, Richard, dir. "Material Evidence." Forensic Files. TLC, TruTV. October 31, 2000. Television.
  7. 1 2 Trexler, Phil (November 26, 2008). "Closure as elusive as killer for family grieving daughter". Akron Beacon Journal. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  8. Renner, James (October 7, 2011). "The Final Word on Krista Harrison". Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  9. "Sheriff reopens girl's murder case 27 years after her death". The Repository. June 8, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  10. "Robert Anthony Buell #801". Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  11. Renner, James (March 19, 2010). "Finding Amy's Killer: Tina Harmon documents reveal Amy Mihaljevic info". Finding Amy's Killer. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.