Authorities in North Central Ohio say the ex-boyfriend of Lynn Jackenheimer, a 33-year-old mother of two who went missing during a Fourth of July vacation, confessed to her murder.
"[His] brother called 911 and said he wanted to report a murder," Ashland County Sheriff's Department Capt. Carl Richert told The Huffington Post. "He said my brother came home from vacation and said he strangled his wife and buried her."
The 911 caller said his brother, identified by police as 27-year-old Nathan J. Summerfield, made the alleged confession before he fled the area.
Lynn Jackenheimer, of Ashland, was last seen on July 4, when she traveled to Nags Head, N.C. with Summerfield and the couple's 3-year-old son and her 13-year-old daughter. Summerfield returned to Ashland with Jackenheimer's children on Sunday afternoon, but she was not with him.
Richert said Summerfield dropped the children off at a family member's house before he allegedly went into hiding. The children, however, have been unable to assist police in the investigation.
"The 13-year-old is autistic and the 3-year-old is, well, 3 years old," Richert said. "The children were kept in the dark. [Summerfield] had told them, 'Mommy went for a walk and we'll see mommy when we get home.' They were kept in the dark and have not been a lot of help to us."
Authorities are actively searching for Nathan Summerfield and have named him a "person of interest" in Jackenheimer's disappearance.
According to Richert, Summerfield and Jackenheimer were involved in at least one domestic violence incident.
In 2009, Summerfield violently choked Jackenheimer. His arrest warrant also refers to an earlier incident, where he locked her out of their residence after an argument. She was nude at the time, according to the warrant. Summerfield was ultimately found guilty of domestic violence and sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail sentence and one-year probation.
Despite the alleged confession and previous domestic violence incidents, Richert said police are investigating the couple's disappearances as two missing person investigations.
"We have no crime yet," Richert said. "We have what was said to his brother ... but I don't have anything to go with it. Until we find him, find her, or they show up together and say, 'Ha ha, here we are,' we are just handling it as a missing person."
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Richert said he has six full-time detectives plus himself working the case, although he does not know how many detectives are investigating the case in North Carolina. The agency handling the case there, the Dare County Sheriff's Office, did not immediately return calls for comment from HuffPost on Tuesday.
"The longer it goes, the worse things are," Richert said. "I would give anything for her just to show up and say, 'Sorry, we had a fight,' for her sake and the kids' sake."
Summerfield was last seen driving a 2009 dark metallic gray Honda Civic four-door. The Ohio license plate tag is FMV 7540. Jackenheimer is about 5-foot-8, with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dare County Sheriff's Office at 252-475-5980 or the Ashland County Sheriff's Office at 419-289-3911.