Tallmadge -- Almost one week after the family of Wendy and Peyton Ralston said goodbye to the mother and son during a memorial service, police have the woman's ex-boyfriend and boy's father in custody as a suspect in their deaths.
Tallmadge Police, with the help of the Akron Bureau of Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, arrested Akron resident Daniel T. Tighe around 1 p.m. Oct. 3, according to a news release from the police department.
Tighe, 39, is charged with aggravated murder in the death of 5-year-old Peyton and murder in the death of 31-year-old Wendy, as well as felony domestic violence.
Police expect additional charges will be filed.
Police said Tighe will be held at the Summit County Jail until his first court appearance via video at the Stow Municipal Court. The arraignment wasn't scheduled by press time.
Police arrested the man without incident in Akron, where he was staying in a camper since the remains of Wendy and Peyton were found in a wooded area behind their Stone Creek Drive home on Aug. 10.
Marie Ralston, Wendy's mother, found the bodies, which were wrapped in a bedsheet and comforter inside a duffel bag, while searching the dense wooded area after becoming suspicious of the whereabouts of her daughter and grandson, according to police and the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office.
Police became aware they were missing when a neighbor reported that they hadn't been seen since July 31, but when police spoke with Tighe at the residence, officers said they didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Tighe lived with Wendy and Peyton at the Stone Creek Drive residence at the time they were reported missing, police said.
Marie reported her daughter missing on Aug. 7, telling police she last heard from her on July 22 when Wendy posted a message on Facebook. One minute after Marie's report, Tighe reported Wendy and Peyton missing.
Three days later, Marie found the duffel bag. Officers found what appeared to be human remains inside and notified the Medical Examiner's Office, which confirmed the discovery.
Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation searched the home and grounds and collected evidence in the days following the discovery of the bodies.
The Medical Examiner's Office identified the first set of remains as Wendy on Aug. 12 and the second as Peyton one day later. On the day police announced the remains were the boy's, police said no weapons were found, but it was likely Wendy and Peyton were killed in their home.
Forensic experts at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, including an anthropologist and entomologist, examined the bodies as part of the police investigation with the hope of determining a time and cause of death.
According to police, the medical examiner has not yet released an official cause of death.
Police announced Sept. 26 that there was a suspect in the case but declined to publicly name him until he was charged.
Marie and her ex-husband, Bill Ralston, both of Tallmadge, were raising Wendy's other child, a 13-year-old daughter. She continues to be in their care.
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