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Authorities Outline Events, Ask For Help In Rocky River Metroparks Murders

By Glenn Forbes

The FBI and Metroparks officers provided a clearer timeline into the murder of 40-year-old Carnell Sledge and 33-year-old Katherine Brown earlier this month, but did not identify a suspect or a motive.

Brown and Sledge arrived in separate cars to the Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, north of the Lorain Road Bridge, just after 5 p.m. on June 4, said Metroparks Chief Ranger Katherine Dolan.

"Kate and Carnell exited their vehicles and sat on the park bench along the river," Dolan said. "Within minutes of their arrival, Carnell and Kate were both shot, between 5:08 and 5:15 p.m."

Dolan said the two were friends but it's unclear why they met at the Metroparks.

"I'm not sure why they were there that day," Dolan said. "I do know that they were friends and had been friends for several years, over 10 years. But I'm not sure, on that day, why they were meeting there."

Asked if Brown and Sledge were targeted, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland office Eric Smith said they're exploring all avenues.

"I think we could also say that we have no reason to believe it was particularly random either," Smith said. "This appears, again, to be somebody that did something in a very brazen way, in a very specific way."

Smith said any detail from witnesses in this heavily trafficked area, particularly in the late afternoon and early evening, could be valuable.

"You may think that what you saw was nothing or unrelated," Smith said. "We are asking you not to dismiss anything. Let law enforcement make that decision."

Dolan and Smith did not discuss the nature of the victims' friendship, if anything was taken from them or if there are multiple suspects, citing an ongoing investigation.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information in the case. If you have information, even if you wish to remain anonymous, call:

  • the Cleveland Metroparks Police dedicated tip-line at 440-331-5219;
  • the FBI at 216-522-1400 option 0; or
  • Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463.

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