Area murder investigations stalled decades ago: 3 perplexing cold cases

Officials can’t determine whether a crime has ever been committed in the 2010 disappearance of Nikki Lyn Forrest — scant evidence and little trace of her has been found since.

Investigators were again searching for clues or a body Tuesday in the backyard of a Troy house where she once stayed. 

» RELATED: Investigators unearth evidence in 2010 case of missing woman 

» RELATED: 5 area missing persons cases that continue to be mysteries

But even in investigations in which authorities have quite a bit of evidence — including a victim’s body — answers sometimes still remain elusive.

Here are three Miami Valley unsolved murder cases that have puzzled investigators for decades and pain family members and friends: 

1999 | Kevin Brame | Dayton

A Dayton police officer, Kevin Brame, 31, was shot in the back on Nov. 1, 1999, outside the home of his estranged wife, Carla. He was off duty dropping off their two children at the Cherry Drive house and was ambushed while returning to his car. 

Brame died in the driveway next to his Chevrolet Tracker after suffering a shotgun blast to the back. 

» RELATED: Dayton police officer Kevin Brame

» PHOTOS: Kevin Brame cold case  

1973 | Marvin Lee “Beau” King | Springfield

Acting on anonymous phone tips that a man's corpse would be found in a ditch along West Possum Road, Clark County sheriff's deputies instead found the body of a 12-year-old boy: Marvin Lee King, known as Beau. 

On Jan. 25, 1973, his mother Monica was working at a local bar, the Bonfire, she told the Springfield Daily News in 1977. Beau called her that evening and she told him she was busy and would call him back. But when she tried, she got no answer. She sent a friend to check on him, but the friend found the trailer door ajar – and no sign of Beau. 

Deputies found Beau's body just after 10 p.m. the next day. He was fully clothed, except for a coat, and had been dead for 12 to 16 hours. The sheriff's office later said the boy had been strangled with a nylon clothesline. 

» RELATED: 12-year-old boy’s death remains mystery 40 years later 

1987 | Donald Marker, Melinda Newcomb, David Smelser | Eaton

A 19th-century cabin in Preble County was the scene of a perplexing 1987 triple homicide

The bodies of David C. Smelser, 31, Donald L. Marker, 28, and Melinda S. Newcomb, 24, were found on Nov. 2, 1987. Authorities believe they had all been shot on Oct. 30, a Friday.

» RELATED: 1987 triple homicide vexes Preble County investigators 

Becca Newcomb is still looking for answers as the 1987 killing of her sister, Melinda Newcomb, and two others in Preble County remains unsolved. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Chris Stewart

Doug Crowell, a friend of Smelser’s, told the Dayton Daily News in 1988 that Smelser was supposed to meet him on Saturday morning to pull stumps but never showed. Smelser also didn’t show up for work Monday, so Crowell went to the cabin, found the bodies, and went to a nearby house to make a call to the sheriff’s office. 

Based on the scene, investigators surmised that Smelser was the target, and that the other two may have arrived before the killer was able to leave the house. There were no signs of a struggle. 

» RELATED: Unsolved murders haunt Dayton area families 

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» RELATED: Former Warren County resident pleads guilty in 24-year-old homicide 

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» RELATED: Gun links murders in ‘73 cold case 

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