POMEROY — The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation is investigating the suspicious death of James W. Gardner, 67, of Rutland Township.
The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Sunday evening regarding a man allegedly found dead at a residence on Paulins Hill Road, in Rutland Township near the Gallia County line.
On Monday, Sheriff Robert Beegle and Prosecutor Colleen Williams said in a news release that James E. Gardner, the victim’s son, is wanted for questioning in the case, calling him a “person of interest.”
The unofficial cause of death is blunt force trauma, according to Beegle.
According to Beegle, the younger Gardner, 40, was seen driving a truck reported missing from the victim’s residence on Sunday afternoon.
James E. Gardner was driving the 2001 dark blue Dodge Ram 2500, 4x4, with Ohio license plate FNC8396 crossing into West Virginia on the Silver Memorial Bridge at approximately 3 p.m., Sunday. At the time there was also a red four-wheeler in the back of the truck. He reportedly lived at the home with his father.
Beegle said that another witness may have been able to place James E. Garnder in the vehicle around 1 p.m. Sunday.
James E. Gardner is described as a white male with blond hair and green eyes, being six feet tall and approximately 175 pounds.
According to Beegle, there is a warrant for James E. Gardner from Jackson County, Ohio, for the theft of 150 gallons of diesel fuel.
The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation is handling the case. Two agents were on scene along with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office Sunday evening.
Cpt. Joe Veith with Point Pleasant Police Department told the Point Pleasant Register on Monday that he and Ohio BCI staff were going to a few residences of interest in Point Pleasant looking for the person of interest in the case.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of James E. Gardner is asked to contact the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office at 740-992-3371.
This was the second death investigation in the tri-county area on Sunday.
According to investigators, Richard A. Franklin, Jr., 49, shot and killed his wife, Kellie L. Franklin, 43, on Sunday afternoon at a home on North Main St. in Point Pleasant. Richard then reportedly shot himself in an apparent suicide attempt. He later died from his injuries.
Beth Sergent, staff writer for The Point Pleasant Register, contributed to this report.