Attempted homicide suspect also named in 3 Sidney cold-case abductions

Ralph E. Bortree

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Ralph E. Bortree

A Logan County man arrested Monday in a decades-old attempted murder cold case is also believed to be linked to three past cold-case abductions.

Ralph E. Bortree, 55, of Bellefontaine, was arrested earlier this week and charged with one count of attempted aggravated murder for a 1993 case after DNA was submitted to a genealogy website.

The Sidney Police Department said today that Bortree is also a suspect in three past abductions that occurred in the city i the early 1990s.

The three cases believed to be linked to Bortree have been reviewed by the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office, but the time has expired to bring charges on these cases due to a statute of limitations.  Sidney Police Department Capt. Jerry Tangeman said.

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  • On May 23, 1992, a 21-year-old female was walking on Court Street near Brooklyn Avenue when a man in a light-colored, four-door vehicle abducted her and forced her into the trunk of his car. The suspect then drove the victim to a remote area of Shelby County and sexually assaulted her before releasing her.
  • On July 22, 1993, a 16-year-old female was parked in her vehicle at the entrance to Tawawa Park when a male driving a red pickup truck pulled in behind her. The suspect brandished a handgun and pulled the victim from her vehicle, placing her into his pickup truck. When the suspect left the truck for a moment, the victim escaped, running to the area of the swimming pool to gain citizens' attention.
  • On May 25, 1995, a 22-year-old female was sitting in her vehicle in the parking lot of Tawawa Lake in the park when a male driving a white Mustang pulled in behind her. The male approached the victim, pointed a handgun at her and commanded her to get into his vehicle. The female complied, and they drove out of the park heading south down Brooklyn Avenue near Riverside Drive. When the victim started struggling with the suspect, pulling the steering wheel and gear shift, he ordered her out of the car before she fled and ran to an oncoming vehicle approaching them.

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At the time, investigators believed all three abductions were linked due to the fact of similar descriptions.

A new lead was recently developed on this case when crime lab testing developed a DNA match between the May 23 and July 22 incident by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

Through the investigation, the sheriff’s office and the Sidney Police Department were able to identify the suspect as Bortree due to a matched DNA profile.

If you have any information that might be helpful to these cases, contact the Sidney Police Department at 937-498-8777 or Crime Stoppers at 937-492-8477.

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