UPDATE (10:30 a.m. 9/17/2015)
The man who confessed to the murder of a Cross Lanes teens pleaded guilty Thursday in Meigs County.
Ernest Roach, 36, pleaded guilty to murder, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse in the death of 16-year-old Ericka Brown.
Roach was sentenced to 19 to life in prison. Three other charges were dropped against Roach as part of a plea deal. If convicted on those charges, Roach would have faces eight more years in prison. As part of the plea arrangement, Roach will be permitted to smoke for a brief period each day.
Brown's body was found along the Ohio River in Meigs County in late August 2014. Roach told police he met Brown online through Craigslist and met to have sex.
A criminal complaint that was formerly sealed has been released. The document was filed on August 29 in Kanawha County. It reads that not every detail of the case is included. Rather, the details inside are those necessary to provide probable cause for a case.
The document states that on August 10, a missing persons report with filed for Brown by family members with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators learned, at this point, that Brown had been placing personal advertisements on a website called Craigslist, with the goal of meeting men, in exchange for sex, for money.
One of those advertisements, which was posted on or around August 3, reads, "seeking men - w4m I'm looking for $$ ill do anything for it, I am a girl. Please text *******. Thank you & have a good day."
Detectives combed through thousands of cell phone records at this point. The last time Ericka's phone pinged, it hit on a tower in Ravenswood, West Virginia. Records showed that she was there until around 7:30 a.m. August 10. Records also showed that she was in contact with a number that matched Roach's on August 9.
Roach's criminal record revealed his address, in Racine, Ohio.
Investigators traveled to that address in Racine and met with Roach. He provided them a voluntary statement. In that statement, he admitted that he drove to Cross Lanes to meet Ericka for sex. He said he met her through her Craigslist advertisement. He said she gave him her cell phone number, and that's how they stayed in contact.
He admitted to paying Ericka $25 for sex.
Roach admitted, according to the criminal complaint, that this was the second time the two had met. He told detectives that they had met in July of 2014, also for sex. He said he paid her in that instance as well.
The documents were unsealed due to the fact that Roach was arrested and charged. He is facing a murder charge in Ohio, as well as unlawful interstate travel for illicit sex, which is a federal crime.
The body of Ericka Brown was found on Saturday, August 30, by campers along the Ohio River in Meigs County.
Police say that Ernest Roach has confessed to killing Ericka Brown. Roach met Brown through a Craigslist posting, according to a release from police.
According to the release, police contacted several persons of interest but evidence did not support any of them as suspects until phone records revealed that Roach may have met with Brown the night before she disappeared.
A search of cell phone records showed that Brown's phone traveled from Cross Lanes, West Virginia to Portland, OH.
Roach agreed to meet with police to conduct a polygraph test but instead fled. He was later captured in Ohio.
Roach also confessed to having sex with Brown.
Sheriff Keith O. Wood of Meigs County, Ohio has confirmed the body found on the banks of the Ohio on Saturday, August 30 is the missing girl from Kanawha County, West Virginia, Ericka Brown.
The sheriff also confirms that Ernest M. Roach, 36 of Racine, Ohio was taken into custody on a federal charge out of Kanawha County, West Virginia in connection with the disappearance of Ericka Brown, according to a new release issued by his office.
Roach will officially be charged with murder by the Meigs County Prosecutor on September 2, 2014. He was picked up Saturday by troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He is being held by the United State Marshal Service at the South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
Brown's body was discovered by a group of individuals on Saturday while Roach was in custody, according to the same news release.
Sheriff Wood also added in the same new release the investigation has been a joint effort between The Meigs County Sheriff's Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, Kanawha County WV. Sheriff's Office, Jackson County WV. Sheriff's Office, and The United Stated Marshal Service.
The investigation is ongoing and further details will be released as they become available.
According to a news release issued by the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, deputies discovered a body along the shore of the Ohio River near Portland, OH at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 30.
Along with deputies with the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as well as the Meigs County Coroner's Office, and West Virginia authorities responded to the scene.
The news release says that a person of interest is in custody in WV. The person's name is not yet known.
According to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a body was found sometime Saturday, August 30, by campers along the Ohio River in the vicinity of 31094 Old Portland Road in Portland, OH, in Meigs County. The body was taken to Montgomery County, OH, in Dayton, for an autopsy.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who are assisting the Meigs County Sheriff's Office in this investigation, say they are treating this as a homicide.
Reports say that the body of 16-year-old Ericka Brown, who has been missing from Kanawha County, West Virginia, since earlier this month, has been located.
We contacted deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office. Investigators with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office have been leading this investigation thus far.
Deputies there directed us to the Meigs County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. We have reached out to both agencies, however, neither have confirmed or denied the details of the investigation.
For more on Brown's disappearance, click on the link here, as well as this link.