CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An Ohio man accused of killing a Cross Lanes teenager allegedly met the girl over the Internet — and the girl’s father begged other parents Tuesday to make sure they know what their children are doing online.
Ericka Brown, a 16-year-old sophomore at Nitro High School, was reported missing on Aug. 10. Police say Ernest Michael Roach, 36, of Racine, Ohio, killed her.
Roach was charged with murder Tuesday morning by the prosecuting attorney in Meigs County, Ohio, where Brown’s body was found by campers along the Ohio River on Saturday.
Federal authorities also charged Roach on Tuesday with traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Roach appeared briefly in federal court in Charleston, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his wrists and ankles shackled.
Brown posted at least one advertisement on craigslist.com looking for men because she wanted money, according to a sworn written statement made in federal court by Kanawha County Sheriff’s Detective Ana Pile.
Brown wrote around Aug. 3, “seeking men – w4m I’m looking for $$ ill [sic] do anything for it, I am a girl,” according to a criminal complaint on file in federal court. She requested that she be contacted by text message and gave her phone number.
Deputies interviewed many people who corresponded with Brown before cellphone records led to Roach, according to Kanawha County Sheriff John Rutherford. Roach was questioned Aug. 27 after deputies tracked his cellphone number to one Brown had been in contact with. Police found him living in a tent on property that belongs to his relatives. He denied having any knowledge about Brown on Aug. 27, Rutherford said, but agreed to meet with deputies the next day to take a polygraph.
He fled the area and deputies obtained a federal warrant, which was unsealed Tuesday.
On Saturday, Roach was arrested by Ohio State Police in Washington County, Ohio, and brought back to West Virginia. Brown’s body was found while he was being questioned by police. It was wrapped in plastic and a ratchet strap, and a concrete block was attached to it.
“When he found out the body had been discovered, he did admit to his role in her murder,” Rutherford said during a news conference Tuesday. Cellphone records from Brown and Roach matched up with his confession, police said.
David Wayne Brown, Ericka Brown’s father, posted Tuesday on his Facebook page advising parents to find out who their children are talking to online…