The death of Justin Back was a personal matter for one member of the Warren County law enforcement community.
Back, 18, of Wayne Twp., was the stepson of Sgt. Mark Cates, an officer at Warren Correctional Institution, south of Lebanon, court officials confirmed this week.
Court records indicate Cates lost more than a stepson on Jan. 28 when he reported Back missing from their home on Corwin Road, east of Waynesville.
Two 19-year-old Clayton men, Timothy Mosley and Austin Myers, remained in the Warren County Jail on Wednesday on $1 million bond each on charges including capital murder.
Both face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Back on Jan. 28 during an alleged kidnapping, robbery or burglary during which Cates’ work and personal possessions were allegedly taken, according to authorities.
They are also accused of abuse of a corpse, grand theft of a firearm, tampering with evidence and safe-cracking.
In addition to the the badge and ID, they are accused of stealing Cates’ gun and safe, according to court records.
Cates, a state corrections officer since 1993, could not be reached for comment. He has been off on disability since Jan. 29, according to the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Cates’ place in the law enforcement community had no bearing on the investigation, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said.
“No, not really. The homicide of Justin Back was our focus,” Fornshell said in an email.
Mosley and Myers were arrested during an investigation begun when Cates contacted authorities to alert them that Back - who was about to join the U.S. Navy - and the family’s personal property were missing from their home, according to court records.
Mosley and Myers are accused of fatally stabbing Back during a struggle in the kitchen of the Wayne Twp. home and stealing the family’s personal property, as well as Back’s clothing to make it look like he was running away, according to authorities.
Back’s body was found in woods in Preble County, allegedly shot with Cates’ gun after being stabbed to death, according to authorities.
Myers is scheduled for trial in September, Mosley in November.