CROWN CITY — A focused manhunt in Gallia County has produced key evidence in the case, but the man wanted for questioning in the death of his father is still seemingly on the run. Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning reported Saturday that deputies have recovered the truck a Meigs man reportedly used to flee the scene of a homicide that took place November 11. The unofficial cause of death was blunt force trauma, according to Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle.
The truck, a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4, reportedly belonged to the victim, James W. Gardner, age 67. His son, James E. Gardner, age 40, is considered a “person of interest” in the case and was allegedly seen driving the vehicle on the day of his father’s death. At the time, there was also reportedly a red four-wheeler in the back of the truck.
A focused search for Gardner has taken place in the Eureka area over the past few days, and the truck was discovered in that general area. According to Browning, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) agents now have the vehicle in their possession for processing. Eureka is located on the southern end of Gallia County.
Browning also reported that a motorbike that had recently been reported stolen was recovered in the same general area earlier in the week. Law enforcement officials believe Gardner had used the vehicle to elude officers. He warns area residents to be mindful of leaving keys in unlocked vehicles.
BCI&I agents also arrested Lyndon M. Montgomery, Sr., age 51, of Crown City, Ohio, this weekend on charges of Obstructing Official Business in connection with the search for Gardner.
Montgomery had recently been interviewed by a Huntington-area television station and was quoted as having had a ‘run-in’ with Gardner in the past few days.
Browning said Montgomery was arrested after law enforcement discovered he had been providing transportation and shelter to Gardner. BCI agents will be consulting with Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins regarding possible additional charges against Montgomery.
Browning requests that the public contact law enforcement if they have information relating to James E. Gardner’s location. Browning warned that anyone helping or assisting Gardner will be charged.
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 also a warrant for Gardner from Jackson County, Ohio, for the theft of 150 gallons of diesel fuel.
Findings of the BCI&I investigation will be reported to the Meigs County Prosecutor when complete according to the agency.
The sheriff office tip line is 740-446-6555 if anyone has information concerning this case.